Ganglion Cyst

GanglionWhat is a ganglion cyst?
A ganglions cyst is a small fluid filled sac that originates from a tendon or joint. The cysts are benign growths (not cancer) that occur most commonly on the back of the wrist and less commonly on the palm side of the wrist. They often change in size with activity level, and they may spontaneously disappear. The cysts do not cause any damage to the surrounding tissues, but they do cause pain by getting in the way of tendons and joints.

What causes a ganglion cyst?
The cause of a ganglion cyst is not known. They are one of the most common causes of a lump on the hand or wrist.

How is a ganglion cyst diagnosed?
The diagnosis is easily established by history and physical examination. X-rays may be ordered to rule-out other associated conditions.

How are ganglion cysts treated?
The treatment of a ganglion cyst is most often observation. If a cyst becomes intolerably painful or is limiting activity, then other treatment may be recommended. Wearing a splint may help reduce the pain caused by a cyst.

GanglionThe least invasive treatment of a cyst is draining it with a needle. This is successful in reducing symptoms and size of the cyst in about 50% of patients.

If non-surgical treatment fails to relieve the symptoms, removal of the cyst may be recommended by your surgeon. Cyst removal is successful in relieving symptoms in most cases. However, cysts on the back of the wrist may recur in up to 5% of cases. Cysts on the front, or palm side, of the wrist may recur in up to 20% of cases.

Surgery for cyst removal is an outpatient procedure, and is performed under local anesthesia. Typically, you may return to work within a few days of surgery. Ask your doctor for further details.