Ganglion Cyst2024-05-08T09:23:53+00:00

Ganglion Cyst

Ganglion Cyst

Recognising the Symptoms of Ganglion Cyst

Lump on the back of the hand – Ganglion Cyst

Noticed a bump on your wrist or hand? It could be a ganglion cyst. While often harmless, these cysts can sometimes be uncomfortable particularly on the back, limiting bending of the wrist. Let’s discuss the best course of action, including both monitoring and treatment options if needed.

Understanding Ganglion Cyst

Ganglion cysts are those jelly-filled bumps often found in the wrist or hand. While they’re usually harmless, they can still be bothersome. Here’s what to keep in mind:

  • Symptoms: Most are painless, but some can cause discomfort or pressure.
  • Causes: The exact cause is unknown, but linked to joint and tendon linings.
  • Treatment: Often just monitoring, but options for aspiration (draining) or surgical removal exist.

Don’t worry unnecessarily about a ganglion cyst. Let’s evaluate it and discuss your options for managing this common occurrence.

Ganglion Cyst FAQs

A ganglion cyst is a non-cancerous, fluid-filled lump that often develops near joints or tendons, most commonly on the wrist.

The exact cause is unknown, but they may form due to irritation or mechanical stress on a joint or tendon. Fluid comes out of the joint through a tiny hole in the lining but it cannot get back in and so fills up. It squashes the tissues around it causing it to become like a ball. it forms a pseudo capsule but can disperse. It used to be treated by hitting them with a Bible because it was the heaviest book in the house!

Most noticeable symptom is a bump on the wrist or hand, though they can occur in other areas. They might be painful, especially if pressing on a nerve, and sometimes change in size. Many times, there are no other symptoms.

Doctors commonly diagnose a ganglion cyst through physical examination. Imaging tests like ultrasound or MRI are occasionally used to confirm the diagnosis or rule out other causes.

Yes, often ganglion cysts disappear spontaneously and require no treatment.

Treatment is only recommended if the cyst is painful, limits movement, or causes problems due to its appearance.

Observation: Many ganglion cysts cause no trouble and simply monitored.

Immobilisation: A splint or brace can temporarily support the area, potentially decreasing its size and relieving pain.

Aspiration: Fluid inside the cyst is drained using a needle and syringe. This often provides temporary relief, but cysts invariably refill.

The doctor cleans the area, numbs it with a local anesthetic, and then carefully inserts a needle to withdraw the fluid. Steroid medication may be injected after aspiration.
Surgery is considered when nonsurgical options fail to offer relief or cysts reoccur. It involves careful removal of the cyst and its stalk (which connects to a joint or tendon).

Surgical removal is generally successful, but there’s a small risk of the cyst returning.

Risks include infection, bleeding, nerve or blood vessel damage, stiffness, and recurrence of the cyst.

Recovery usually takes a few weeks. Hand therapy might be recommended to aid recovery.

No, do not attempt to pop it yourself. This was once known as “bible thumping” and risks rupturing the cyst, potentially making it worse, and increasing the risk of infection.

There’s no strong evidence that home remedies eliminate ganglion cysts. Some people report comfort from over-the-counter pain relievers or by gently massaging the area.

Sometimes, applying a warm compress or soaking the area might offer temporary pain relief.

No, ganglion cysts are not contagious and don’t spread to other parts of your body.

Ganglion cysts are almost always benign (non-cancerous).

They are more common in women, especially between the ages of 20 and 40.

Your primary care doctor can usually diagnose and initially manage a ganglion cyst. For cases requiring surgery, they may refer you to a hand surgeon or orthopedic surgeon.

Typically yes, exercise shouldn’t worsen a ganglion cyst. Listen to your body and avoid activities that cause significant pain.

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