Ganglion cysts are a common type of mass on the wrists and hands but, fortunately, they are usually harmless. However, their appearance can be bothersome to people, which is why we offer ganglion cyst removal.
What Is a Ganglion Cyst?
A ganglion cyst is a pea-shaped, jelly-filled lump that often appears along the tendons and joints of the wrists or hands. Fluid is naturally found in these joints and tendons; it keeps them lubricated and flexible. Ganglion cysts grow from these fluid-producing joints like a balloon. Although these cysts are not cancerous, they can cause pain or joint problems if they press against a nearby nerve.
Common symptoms to look out for include:
- Lumps and bumps on the back of the wrists or the finger joints
- Pain in hand and wrist area
- Firmness in the affected area
- Tenderness to the touch
If you have any of these symptoms, we encourage you to schedule an appointment to receive an accurate diagnosis.
What Causes Ganglion Cysts?
While ganglion cysts are relatively common, the exact reason why they occur can be due to a number of things. They sometimes occur in tandem with conditions like an injury, arthritis, or joint irritation. People of all ages can be affected but the most common age range is between 15- 40. Women are also slightly more affected than men. Cysts might come and go on their own without any direct cause. If you have reoccurring ganglion cysts, we recommend a visit with an orthopedic hand surgeon like Dr. Galli and Dr. Avena.
The good news is that in some cases, the ganglion cysts can go away on their own. If they become bothersome or prevent you from performing normal activities, it is a good idea to go to an orthopedic specialist. They can treat the cysts on an outpatient basis with surgical or non-surgical treatments. Non-surgical procedures use a syringe to remove the fluid from the cysts. If the cyst returns or non-surgical treatment does not provide relief, the entire cyst and its root system can be removed with surgery.
If surgery is necessary for your ganglion cyst removal, consider the following aftercare steps to ensure a proper recovery and fast healing:
- Wear a sling for a few days to reduce swelling and discomfort.
- Get the rest you need and make sure you have individuals to help you if needed. If you have trouble lifting with both hands, get someone to do it for you.
- Do not let your stitches wet. It is important to keep the area dry and moisture-free.
- After stitches are removed, you should have the normal range of motion, but it is important to keep the area clean.
- If you have issues with pain and discomfort, contact your doctor immediately.
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While ganglion cysts are often little more than a nuisance, there are times when they can be problematic. If you would like more information about ganglion cyst removal and your treatment options, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with our team of orthopedic hand surgeons at Regional Hand Center.