The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued full guidance to the NHS in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland on Balloon catheter insertion for Bartholin's cyst or abscess.


The Bartholin’s glands are at the entrance of the vagina. A cyst or abscess can form in the Bartholin’s duct (which drains the glands) if it becomes blocked or infected. Cysts are usually treated either by ‘incision and drainage’ or ‘marsupialisation’, which involves cutting into the cyst and placing stitches to make a permanent opening so that the gland can drain freely. Insertion of a balloon catheter is a non-surgical alternative to incision and drainage or marsupialisation.

Coding and clinical classification codes for this guidance.

Your responsibility

This guidance represents the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, healthcare professionals are expected to take this guidance fully into account. However, the guidance does not override the individual responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or guardian or carer.

Commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to implement the guidance, in their local context, in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality of opportunity, and foster good relations. Nothing in this guidance should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with compliance with those duties.

Commissioners and providers have a responsibility to promote an environmentally sustainable health and care system and should assess and reduce the environmental impact of implementing NICE recommendations wherever possible.

  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)