Ganglion Cysts

Ganglion cysts are usually found on or around joints and tendons in the hand or foot. Ganglion cysts have been found in almost every joint in the hand and wrist but the majority are dorsal wrist ganglions found on the back of the hand.

What is a Ganglion Cyst?

Ganglion cysts contain a clear fluid, similar to the fluid seen in the joint. They can appear suddenly or develop over time. We don’t fully know what causes the formulation of the ganglion but cysts are common among certain athletes who repeatedly apply stress to the wrist, including tennis players and gymnasts. Ganglion cysts are also more common among women than men.

Signs of a Ganglion Cyst

Depending on the size and location, ganglion cysts may or may not be visible to the eye. Because the fluid-filled cysts may put pressure on the nerves that pass through the joint, some cysts may be painful at times. The size of these cysts can vary over time; they can become inflamed if irritated.

Ganglion Cyst Treatment Options

Because ganglion cysts are not cancerous and may disappear in time, initial treatment is typically not surgical. Your surgeon may want to observe it for awhile to see if any changes occur. Immobilizing the wrist may relieve symptoms and may help the ganglion decrease in size.

Surgical treatment is recommended if the patient feels significant pain or is experiencing limited movement. Surgical options may entail draining the fluid, a procedure called aspiration, or an open excision of ganglion cysts. Arthroscopy of the wrist is also becoming a more widespread treatment.

If you believe you may have a ganglion cyst, the best thing to do is to call Orthopedic Specialists of Seattle to make an appointment.