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Word catheter and marsupialisation in women with a cyst or abscess of the Bartholin gland (WoMan-trial): a randomised clinical trial.

OBJECTIVE: To compare recurrence of a cyst or abscess of the Bartholin gland after surgical treatment using a Word catheter or marsupialisation.

DESIGN: Multicentre, open-label, randomised controlled trial.

SETTING: Eighteen hospitals in the Netherlands and one hospital in England.

POPULATION: Women with a symptomatic cyst or abscess of the Bartholin gland.

METHODS: Women were randomised to treatment with Word catheter or marsupialisation.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcome was recurrence of the cyst or abscess within 1 year of treatment. The secondary outcomes included pain during and after treatment (measured on a 10-point scale), use of analgesics, and time from diagnosis to treatment. Analysis was by intention-to-treat. To assess whether marsupialisation would reduce the recurrence rate by 5% (from 20 to 15%) we needed to include 160 women (alpha error 0.05, beta error 0.2).

RESULTS: One hundred and sixty-one women were randomly allocated to treatment by Word catheter (n = 82) or marsupialisation (n = 79) between August 2010 and May 2014. Baseline characteristics were comparable. Recurrence occurred in 10 women (12%) allocated to Word catheter versus eight women (10%) allocated to marsupialisation: relative risk (RR) 1.1, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.64-1.91; P = 0.70. Pain scores after treatment were also comparable. In the first 24 hours after treatment, 33% used analgesics in the Word catheter group versus 74% in the marsupialisation group (P < 0.001). Time from diagnosis to treatment was 1 hour for placement of Word catheter versus 4 hours for marsupialisation (P = 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: In women with an abscess or cyst of the Bartholin gland, treatment with Word catheter and marsupialisation results in comparable recurrence rates.

TWEETABLE ABSTRACT: Comparable recurrence rates for treatment of Bartholinic abscess/cyst with Word catheter and marsupialisation.

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