Word catheter in women with Bartholin’s cysts: a systematic review and meta-analysis


Objective. Our study aims to compare the outcomes of Word catheter and marsupialization as the main treatment modalities in women with Bartholin’s cysts or abscesses.
Materials and Methods. An electronic database search was conducted using PubMed, MEDLINE, the Cochrane Library,, Embase, and Google Scholar. The date of the last screening was April 20, 2023. Randomised clinical trials (RCTs) and non-randomised clinical trials evaluating the efficacy of the Word catheter compared to marsupialization of bartholin cysts or abscesses were included.
Results. A total of 671 articles were analyzed. After excluding duplicates and irrelevant reports, five studies were included in the qualitative and quantitative synthesis: one publication was a randomized trial, and four were non-randomized studies, which yielded 756 patients. There was no statistically significant difference between the Word catheter and the marsupialization group (RR = 1.28, 95% CI: 0.84-1.95, p = 0.,26) in terms of recurrence rates. The heterogeneity for this comparison was 15%. The results of the three studies show that the duration of the procedure was shorter in the Word catheter group compared to the marsupialization group. Increased pain scores during treatment and post-treatment were more common in the Word catheter group.
Conclusions. Our systematic review and meta-analysis show that there is no statistically significant difference regarding recurrence rates. In addition, marsupialization, compared to the Word catheter, is a more traumatic treatment method with a longer duration and requires general anesthesia and an operating theater. Nevertheless, correct therapeutic management and a personalized approach are important to ensure effective treatment and prevent complications.

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