What is Periodic Lancing or Drainage of Mucocele?

Periodic lancing or draining of the mucocele in dogs is a minor surgical procedure. In some cases, local anesthesia is only needed where the mucocele is lanced and drained. The procedure is usually the result of a damaged salivary gland or salivary duct. 

Mucoceles are formed when a salivary gland or salivary duct leaks saliva. The leaking saliva begins to accumulate in the dog’s tissues. As a result, a mucocele is formed. These mucoceles are made of saliva and new connective tissue. 

The goal of periodic lancing or draining of the mucocele in dogs is to resolve the mucocele for several week or months. 

Veterinarians often perform periodic lancing or draining of the mucocele in dogs. In most cases, this procedure is done as soon as the veterinarian is notified of the mucocele.

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Periodic Lancing or Drainage of Mucocele Procedure in Dogs

Periodic lancing or draining of the mucocele in dogs is usually a procedure that can be performed the same day the mucocele is discovered. Prior to lancing or draining the mucocele, a veterinarian will need to do an examination. 

In addition to lancing or draining the mucocele, veterinarians may also recommend other tests. These tests may vary from blood work to a detailed cytology. 

Prior to the lancing or draining of the mucocele the area must be clipped. Once free of hair, the area is cleaned with an aseptic solution. 

After the area is clipped and cleaned, the veterinarian may administer the dog a local anesthesia. Local anesthesia doesn’t put the dog all the way to sleep like IV anesthesia would. Instead, local anesthesia is only administered and effective in a specific region of the body. This will ensure that the procedure is as painless as possible. 

Once the local anesthesia begins working, the veterinarian will make a small incision in the mucocele with a tool known as a “lancet”. A lancet is very small surgical blade. Lancets are two sided and have an extremely sharp point. 

The mucocele will probably start draining as soon as the incision is made with the lancet. During the procedure, the veterinarian may poke and prod at the area to ensure that all possible saliva is drained from the mucocele. 

During the lancing and drainage, veterinarians will continually wash the area with an aseptic to help ensure that the area stays clear of any debris or fluid leaving the mucocele. 

After the mucocele finishes draining, the area is cleaned again with an aseptic. 

Periodic lancing or drainage of the mucocele in dogs may be performed on the dog’s impacted glands as often as every couple of weeks. In some cases, periodic lancing or draining of the mucocele in dogs only needs to be repeated every few months. 

Efficacy of Periodic Lancing or Drainage of Mucocele in Dogs

Periodic lancing or drainage of the mucocele in dogs is a temporary treatment of mucoceles in dogs. The effects of lancing the dog’s mucocele only lasts a maximum of a few months. Eventually, the mucocele will return. In short, periodic lancing or drainage of the mucocele in dogs is not a permanent treatment option.

An alternate treatment for treating the mucocele in dogs is surgery. Surgery pertaining to the mucocele in dogs consists of removing the glands that are the cause of the condition. Removing the gland is actually the preferred way to treat the mucocele in dogs. 

Marsupialization is an alternate treatment for dogs who have a mucocele under the tongue. This is a surgical procedure that is done by making a small incision in the mucocele. Once the incision is made, the exterior and interior surface of the mucocele become one whole surface. 

Marsupialization does allow continuous drainage of the mucocele. But, in order to effectively treat the sublingual mucocele, the jawbone glands and the glands under the tongue must be removed. 

Periodic Lancing or Drainage of Mucocele Recovery in Dogs

The recovery following periodic lancing or drainage of the mucocele in dogs consists mainly of keeping the area clean. In addition to cleaning the incision area, the area where the mucocele once was should be monitored on a regular basis. 

You will notice an immediate difference in the visual appearance of the mucocele. The affected area should appear much smaller now. Since periodic lancing or draining is a temporary fix, the dog may not heal all the way. This is true even after several repeat procedures.

After the mucocele is lanced, the veterinarian may prescribe inflammatory medications. Medications used to manage pain may also be prescribed. 

Most dogs who have a mucocele lanced usually need the procedure done again. The veterinarian may need to repeat the procedure as soon as a few weeks after lancing the mucocele. In some cases, some dog’s mucoceles do not return for several months.

Cost of Periodic Lancing or Drainage of Mucocele in Dogs

The cost of periodic lancing or draining of mucocele in dogs depends on several factors. The cost of this procedure is dependent on the severity of the mucocele, where the mucocele is located, and how the mucocele is drained. 

Your location also plays a large part in the cost of lancing or drainage the mucocele in dogs. Cost will vary depending on where you live and/or where the procedure is performed.

A simple periodic lancing or drainage of the mucocele in dogs may only cost around $75. This would include the veterinarian exam and lancing and draining of the mucocele, as well as any local anesthesia used. 

Mucoceles that are larger, or harder to lance, may cost more to treat. This is due to the difficulty and time it takes to complete the procedure. This may cost anywhere from $100 to $200 or more.

There may be a case in which a mucocele can not be drained without general anesthesia. If this is the situation, the cost of the procedure may fall between $150 and $300 or more. Most of the time this price includes the exam, mucocele lancing, general anesthesia, and pain management, as well as monitoring the dog’s vital signs.

Since periodic lancing or drainage of mucocele in dogs is a procedure that must be done more than once, these prices will occur every time the procedure is done. 

Dog Periodic Lancing or Drainage of Mucocele Considerations

Periodic lancing or drainage provides instant drainage of the accumulated saliva in a mucocele. The procedure is also quite simple and minimally invasive. Lancing or drainage of the mucocele also assists in decreasing the inflammation surrounding the mucocele. Decreasing the mucocele inflammation will temporarily relieve symptoms.

There are risks associated with periodic lancing or drainage of the mucocele in dogs. The major risk of lancing the mucocele often is possibly exposing the area to bacteria. 

It is also common for a mucocele to return after it is lanced and drained. As a result, the mucocele isn’t really being resolved; only the symptoms are alleviated with lancing or drainage of the mucocele in dogs. 

Periodic Lancing or Drainage of Mucocele Prevention in Dogs

Finding the main cause behind a mucocele in dogs remains difficult. There are associations between the mucocele  in dogs and trauma to the dog’s neck. A mucocele is often seen in dogs who wear choke chains on a regular basis. They are also seen in dog bite cases near the neck area. 

Once the mucocele has formed, there is only one option for preventing the need to lance and drain it again. The mucocele must be surgically removed under general anesthesia. Lancing or draining the mucocele doesn’t prevent it from coming back. It simply relieves the symptoms until the mucocele returns again.