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Skene Duct Cyst

(Skene's Duct Cyst)


Charlie Kilpatrick

, MD, MEd, Baylor College of Medicine

Reviewed/Revised Feb 2023
Topic Resources

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

Skene glands (periurethral or paraurethral glands) are located adjacent to the distal urethra.

Vulvar Anatomy

At the center of this image is the vagina, a canal composed of smooth muscle. The small opening directly above it is the urethra, which is the opening from the bladder. Below the vagina is the anus. Above the urethra is the clitoris, a body of erectile tissue that is homologous to the penis. The vagina is surrounded by the labia minora, which are surrounded by the labia majora. The pubic bone is at top. The purple tissue is a continuation of the clitoris, the crus of clitoris. The bulb of the vestibule (blue) also consists of erectile tissue. Below the bulb is a Bartholin gland, which secretes mucus to lubricate the vagina.


Vulvar Anatomy

Skene duct cysts form if the duct is obstructed, usually because the gland is infected. They occur mainly in adults.

Cysts may become infected, leading to recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) and abscesses. Rarely, Skene duct cysts (if large enough) obstruct the urethra.

Most Skene duct cysts are < 1 cm and asymptomatic. Some are larger and cause dyspareunia. The first symptoms may be similar to those of UTIs (eg, dysuria). Abscesses are painful, swollen, tender, and erythematous but usually do not cause fever.

Diagnosis of Skene Duct Cyst

  • Pelvic examination

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.

Treatment of Skene Duct Cyst

  • Surgical excision or marsupialization if the cyst causes symptoms

Symptomatic cysts are excised or marsupialized (the everted edges of the cyst are sutured to the exterior).

Abscesses are treated initially with oral broad-spectrum antibiotics (eg, cephalexin 500 mg every 6 hours 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 and/or cause recurrent UTIs.

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

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

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

Drugs Mentioned In This Article

Drug Name Select Trade
Biocef, Daxbia , Keflex, Keftab, Panixine
NOTE: This is the Professional Version. CONSUMERS: View Consumer Version
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