Ganglion cysts are very common lumps within the hand and wrist that occur adjacent to joints or tendons. The most common locations are the top of the wrist, the palm side of the wrist, the base of the finger on the palm side, and the top of the end joint of the finger. The ganglion cyst often resembles a water balloon on a stalk, and is filled with clear fluid gel.
The cause of these cysts is unknown although they may form in the presence of joint or tendon irritation or mechanical changes. They occur in patients of all ages.
The diagnosis is usually based on the location of the lump and its appearance. They are usually oval or round and may be soft or very firm. Cysts at the base of the finger on the palm side are typically very firm, pea sized nodules that are tender to applied pressure, such as when gripping.
45 – 60min
May last a long time
These are globular sac-like lumps or cysts that are formed from internal degeneration of a tendon. They are often found on the wrist and ankle on the long extensor tendons. Ganglion cysts are aspirated under local anesthesia.
1. Ganglion cysts are non-cancerous, but how they form is unclear.
2. Half of all ganglion cysts disappear without intervention.
3. The fluid within the cysts is somewhat similar to that contained within synovial joints.
4. Draining or surgically removing the cysts may prevent their return.
5. They most commonly occur next to the wrist joints, but they can affect the feet.
Removal of Ganglion Cyst
If the cyst is large or if it causes problems e.g. pain, removal may be necessary.
Aspiration: The fluid inside a cyst is similar to that which naturally occurs in joints. Removing it may permanently remove the cyst.
Open surgery: A small incision is made and the cyst is removed , together with the stalk.
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Treatment of Ganglion
Treatment can often be non-surgical. In many cases, these cysts can simply be observed, especially if they are painless. If the cyst becomes painful, limits activity, or is otherwise unacceptable, several treatment options are available. The use of splints and anti-inflammatory medication can be prescribed in order to decrease pain associated with activities.
An aspiration can be performed to remove the fluid from the cyst and decompress it. Aspiration is a very simple procedure. If non-surgical options fail to provide relief or if the cyst recurs, surgical alternatives are available. Surgery involves removing the cyst along with a portion of the joint capsule or tendon sheath.