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Skene Duct Cyst

(Skene's Duct Cyst)

By S. Gene McNeeley, MD, Clinical Professor; Chief of Gynecology, Center for Advanced Gynecology and Pelvic Health, Michigan State University, College of Osteopathic Medicine; Trinity Health

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Skene duct cysts develop adjacent to the distal urethra, sometimes causing perineal discharge, dyspareunia, urinary obstruction, or abscess formation.

Skene glands (periurethral or paraurethral glands) are located adjacent to the distal urethra. Cysts form if the duct is obstructed, usually because the gland is infected. They occur mainly in adults. Cysts may form abscesses or cause urethral obstruction and recurrent UTIs.

Most Skene duct cysts are < 1 cm and asymptomatic. Some are larger and cause dyspareunia. The first symptoms may be those of urinary outflow obstruction (eg, hesitancy, dribbling, retention) or of UTIs. Abscesses are painful, swollen, tender, and erythematous but usually do not cause fever.


  • Clinical evaluation

Diagnosis of Skene duct cysts is usually clinical. Most symptomatic cysts and abscesses are palpable adjacent to the distal urethra; however, a diverticulum of the distal urethra may be clinically indistinguishable, requiring ultrasonography or cystoscopy for differentiation.


  • Surgical excision if the cyst causes symptoms

Symptomatic cysts are excised. Abscesses are treated initially with oral broad-spectrum antibiotics (eg, cephalexin 500 mg q 6 h for 7 to 10 days) and are excised or marsupialized.

Key Points

  • Skene duct cysts form if the duct is obstructed, usually because the gland is infected.

  • Cysts may form abscesses, obstruct the urethra, and/or cause recurrent UTIs.

  • Most are small and asymptomatic; large cysts may cause dyspareunia.

  • Diagnose Skene duct cysts by physical examination and, if needed, by ultrasonography or cystoscopy.

  • Excise symptomatic cysts, and treat abscesses with broad-spectrum antibiotics and excision or marsupialization.

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