Conditions General

Understanding Ganglion Cysts

As you may already know, cysts can form on different parts of the body. They are usually benign and can be a frustration more than anything. This is definitely the case with ganglion cysts, which can form on certain parts of the hands. Generally, they appear on the outer side of the wrist, on the palm side of the wrist, at the base of the finger, and on the farthest joint in the finger.

Ganglion cysts are filled with clear fluid and they can change in sized at different times. Sometimes, they may seem to disappear before reappearing. Because they are filled with clear liquid, many people describe them as looking as if a water balloon is trapped under the skin.

They do not spread to other parts of the body, although some people may have more than one ganglion cyst on their hands.

The Causes of the Cysts

There is no specific cause of a ganglion cyst and they can develop on anyone at any age. Some doctors do believe that injury to the joint or excess use and stress on the area may contribute to the development of the cysts.

The Symptoms

A ganglion cyst is usually fairly easy to diagnose by a hand doctor. Symptoms may include:

  • A round or oval rise or projection on the parts of the hand as mentioned.
  • The bump will have a clear quality, and a light beam will pass through it.
  • The lump may or may not be painful, and some people state that they only feel pain when the lump is bumped or hit on something.
  • A times, a ganglion cyst can be accompanied with a bone spur, especially if it occurs near the tip of the finger.

Many people experience no discomfort or pain from the cyst, so treatment usually isnt needed. However, if the cyst is causing problems, is limiting mobility, and is painful, then a combination of a splint and anti-inflammatory medication may be used. At times, the cyst may be aspirated with a needle. If all else fails, then surgery may be needed. During the surgery itself, the cyst will be removed and so will part of the joint capsule. While surgery is usually successful, there is still a chance that the cyst may come back over time.

A ganglion cyst is not just a bubble under the skin. It usually has something called a root that connects to the nearby joint. This is why they can, at times, interrupt usability of the finger or hand. However, in most cases, the cysts are left alone as they do not cause any problems whatsoever. Additionally, they have been known to disappear all on their own with the patient doing nothing at all. No matter the case, if you believe you have a ganglion cyst, it would be a good idea to see your physician. Together with your doctors help, you will be able to determine whether or not you should pursue treatment for the problem.