Conditions General

What Is a Ganglion Cyst and Does It Require Surgery?

A ganglion cyst is a lump that people will develop on their hands and wrists. They are noncancerous, but they are full of fluid, which can cause pain if they are pressing on a nerve. The size of the cysts can vary greatly. Some are actually quite small, while others can be an inch or slightly larger in size. In some instances, the location of the cyst can make it difficult to move the joint.

The exact cause of ganglion cysts is unknown, and they will often disappear on their own. However, that is not always the case. Sometimes, you will need to have surgical treatment, which we will discuss further below.

What Are the Symptoms?

Most of the time, the cysts are painless. As mentioned though, if they are located close to a nerve, and they press on the nerve, this can cause a substantial amount of pain. Even a small cyst can cause problems, such as numbness and weakness in the muscle. The size of the cyst can change as well, depending on how often you use that joint. When you use the joint more often, the cyst could increase in size.

Whether you experience pain or loss of motion or not, you will want to make sure to head to a doctor so they can provide you with a proper diagnosis. You want to make sure it is a ganglion cyst and not anything more serious. The doctor will also be able to recommend treatment. As mentioned, many times, the cyst will go away without any type of treatment. Many doctors will want to see what happens with the cyst before providing treatment, as it might be unneeded.

Types of Treatment

When the doctor does decide that they need to treat the cyst, they have several options. First, they will likely want the patient to immobilize their wrist. This can help the cyst to shrink. For those cysts that do not go away, the doctor could aspirate the cyst. This involves using a needle, inserting it into the cyst, and then draining the fluid. Some doctors will then inject the area with steroids, which should help to keep the cyst from coming back. However, there is still the possibility of the cyst recurring.

Of course, there is a chance that the other treatments will not work. In those cases, the doctor will determine whether surgery is a good and viable option. The ganglion cyst surgery will remove not only the cyst, but also the connecting stalk that is attached to the tendon or the joint. While this is a good option for many, there is always the chance that the cyst could still return.

If you have a ganglion cyst, or a lump that you believe may be a cyst, you will want to get in touch with a medical professional who can examine you. You can talk to a specialist who performs hand surgery to determine whether removal is your best option to help get rid of the cyst.