What is a Ganglion Cyst?

A ganglion cyst is a benign mass commonly found on the back of the wrist and the end of joints in the fingers. These tumors or lumps usually arise from a joint or tendon. They are filled with a thick fluid (joint fluid) and covered by a thick sheath.

What are the symptoms of a Ganglion Cyst?

Ganglion cysts are usually seen as a lump or bump on the hand or wrist. The cause of these cysts may be related to arthritis or an inflammation around a tendon. In some cases, the cause is unknown.

How is a Ganglion Cyst diagnosed?

Diagnosis of a ganglion cyst is made by the appearance of the mass and its location. Sometimes an x-ray is necessary to rule out bone abnormalities. In a great percentage of cases, the ganglion cyst is painless, but in some patients pain is present with certain activities. The cyst can change in size or disappear completely on its own.

What is the Treatment for a Ganglion Cyst?

Treatment is related to the symptoms. If there is no pain associated with the ganglion cyst, treatment can be observation only. A wrist brace may help diminish the size of the cyst. If pain is associated with the cyst or it is large and cosmetically unacceptable to the patient, it can be aspirated with a needle removing the fluid inside. The cyst may also be surgically removed. Surgery includes the removal of the cyst and its surrounding membrane and the extension of the cyst into the joint. There is a higher chance of recurrence with the aspiration technique than with surgery. However, even with surgery the cyst may return.

After surgery, a soft dressing or a resting splint is applied to control post-operative pain. Stitches are removed 7 to 10 days after the procedure. Physical therapy is sometimes necessary if stiffness develops in the wrist or digit.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with the Hand Center of Evansville, please contact us.

Full Medical Disclaimer “The materials on this website have been prepared for informational purposes only and do not constitute advice. You should not act or rely upon any medical information in this website without a physician’s advice. The information contained within this website is not intended to serve as a substitution for a thorough examination from a qualified healthcare provider. Display of this information is not intended to create a health care provider-patient relationship between the Hand Center of Evansville and you. Information credited to the American Society for Surgery of the Hand.