What is a Ganglion Cyst?
- Ganglion cysts are the most common mass or lump in the hand.
- They are not cancerous and, in most cases, are harmless.
- These fluid-filled cysts can quickly appear, disappear, and change size.
Ganglion cysts are the most common mass or lump in the hand. In most cases they are harmless and not cancerous. They can occur in various locations, but they are usually on the back of the wrist.
These fluid-filled cysts can quickly appear, disappear, and change size. Most ganglion cysts do not require treatment, but if the cyst is painful, unsightly or interferes with function there are several treatment options available. With rest, the lump typically becomes smaller.
Our Treatment Approach
Initial treatment of a ganglion cyst is not surgical.
- Observation. Because the ganglion is not cancerous and may disappear in time, your doctor may recommend just waiting and watching to make sure that no unusual changes occur.
- Immobilization. Activity often causes pain so a wrist brace or splint may relieve symptoms and cause the ganglion to decrease in size.
- Aspiration. If the ganglion causes a great deal of pain or severely limits activities, the fluid may be drained from it.
Your doctor may recommend surgery if your symptoms are not relieved by more conservative, nonsurgical methods, or if the ganglion returns after aspiration. The procedure to remove a ganglion cyst is called an excision.
It is not known what triggers the formation of a ganglion. They are most common in younger people between the ages of 15 and 40 years, and women are more likely to be affected than men.
Most ganglions form a lump, however, smaller ones can remain hidden under the skin. Usually there are no other symptoms, but is the cyst puts pressure on the nerves it can cause pain, tingling, and muscle weakness.