Ganglion Cyst of the Wrist and Hand

Ganglion cysts are the most prevalent mass or lump in the hand. They are not malignant and, in most cases, are really benign. They take place in various spots, but more commonly develop on the back of the wrist. These fluid-filled cysts can swiftly appear, disappear, and change size. Many ganglion cysts do not call for treatment. However, if the cyst is painful, hinders functionality, or has an unacceptable appearance, there are a number of treatment options available. Dr. Kathleen Weaver of Audrain Orthopedics in Mexico, MO has this important details to make sure that you know how to handle ganglion cysts.


A ganglion emerges out of a joint, like a balloon on a stalk. It grows out of the tissues encompassing a joint, such as ligaments, tendon sheaths, and joint linings. Inside the balloon is a heavy, slippery fluid, like the fluid that lubricates your joints.

Ganglion cysts can form in several of the joints in the hand and wrist, including both the top and underside of the wrist, as well as the end joint of a finger, and at the base of a finger. They fluctuate in size, and in a lot of cases, enlarge with increased wrist activity. With rest, the lump generally diminishes.


Hand Fracture Hip Sprain Internal Derangement of Knee Knee Dislocation Meniscal Tear Knee Sprain mexico moIt is not known what prompts the formation of a ganglion. They are most common in younger people between the ages of 15 and 40 years, and females are more likely to be affected than men. These cysts are also prevalent among gymnasts, who repetitively apply stress to the wrist.

Ganglion cysts that build at the end joint of a finger-- also called mucous cysts-- are usually associated with arthritis in the finger joint, and are more common in women between the ages of 40 and 70 years.


Most ganglions form a viewable lump, nevertheless, smaller ganglions can remain concealed under the skin (occult ganglions). Although a lot of ganglions produce no other symptoms, if a cyst places strain on the nerves that go through the joint, it may produce pain, tingling, and muscle weakness for anybody with ganglion cysts in Central Missouri.

Sizable cysts, even if they are not uncomfortable, can create concerns regarding appearance.

Doctor Examination

Medical History and Physical Examination

In the course of the initial appointment, your physician will go over your medical history and symptoms. They may ask you how long you have had the ganglion, whether or not it changes in size, and whether it is painful.

Pressure might be applied to identify any tenderness. Because a ganglion is filled with fluid, it is translucent. Your physician may shine a penlight up to the cyst to see whether light shines through.

Imaging Tests

X-rays. These tests make clear images of dense structures, like bone. Though x-rays will not show a ganglion cyst, they can be used to dismiss other conditions, such as arthritis or a bone tumor.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans or ultrasounds. These imaging tests can better show soft tissues like a ganglion. Sometimes, an MRI or ultrasound is needed to find an occult ganglion that is not visible, or to differentiate the cyst from other tumors.


Nonsurgical Treatment

Initial treatment of a ganglion cyst is not surgical.

  • Observation. Since the ganglion is not cancerous and might disappear in time, if you do not have symptoms, your doctor might suggest simply waiting and watching to make sure that no peculiar changes happen.
  • Immobilization. Activity often causes the ganglion to increase in size and also increases pressure on nerves, causing pain. A wrist brace or splint may ease symptoms and cause the ganglion to lower in size. As pain lessens, your physician might prescribe exercises to strengthen the wrist and boost range of motion.
  • Aspiration. If the ganglion causes a great deal of pain or seriously limits activities, the fluid might be drained from it. This procedure is knowned as an aspiration. The area around the ganglion cyst is numbed and the cyst is pricked with a needle so that the fluid may be withdrawn. Aspiration frequently fails to get rid of the ganglion because the "root" or connection to the joint or tendon sheath is not removed. A ganglion can be like a weed which will grow back if the root is not removed. In a lot of cases, the ganglion cyst returns after an aspiration procedure. Aspiration procedures are most frequently recommended for ganglions located on the top of the wrist.

Surgical Treatment

Your doctor may suggest surgery if your symptoms are not alleviated by nonsurgical methods, or if the ganglion returns following aspiration. The procedure to remove a ganglion cyst is called an excision.

Surgery involves removing the cyst as well as part of the affected joint capsule or tendon sheath, which is considered the root of the ganglion. Even after excision, there is a small chance the ganglion will come back.

Excision is generally an outpatient procedure and patients can go home after a period of observation in the recovery area. There may be some tenderness, soreness, and swelling following surgical treatment. Normal activities normally may be restarted 2 to 6 weeks following surgery.

If you feel you may have ganglion cysts or some other condition affiliated with orthopedic medicine, Mexico, MO doctor Dr. Kathleen Weaver would be a good next step on your journey to getting well.

Thank you so much for your help on wrist and hand.  I have recovered pain free.

D.B. age 19