Ganglion cyst

What is Ganglion Cyst?

A non cancerous lump usually seen on the back of the wrist is known as ganglion cyst.  Size of the cyst may change and the fluid in the cyst may come and go. These cysts do not need any treatment and they vanish on its own. Usually ganglion arise out of joints in the hand. Inside the cyst there is thick slippery fluid which is similar to that in the joints. Ganglion cysts are formed in many parts of the body like end of finger, base of finger, top and bottom sides of the wrist etc. They are of different sizes. The size of the cyst increases with increase in the hand activity and reduces when the hand activity reduces.

Ganglion Cyst

What causes Ganglion Cyst?

The reasons for the formation of ganglion cysts are not known. They are commonly found among people in the age grout 15 – 40 and are more prominent among women. Ganglion cysts found near the end joint of the fingers are known as mucous cysts. Mucous cysts are caused due to arthritis. These types of cysts are commonly found in women. Ganglion cysts are identified by its lump. Smaller ganglion cysts may remain hidden. Pressure caused by the cysts on the nerves passing through the area causes pain, tingling and muscle weakness. Larger cysts cause concern about their appearance though they may not be painful.  Doctor who examines your cysts will ask questions about their appearance and the problems related to it and from the answers to the questions, he will be able to arrive at an initial diagnosis about the ganglion. Investigative procedures like X- rays, MRI scans etc will be necessary for finding the occult ganglion which are invisible otherwise.

How Ganglion Cysts are treated?

Non Surgical treatment for Ganglion Cyst

As the ganglion is benign cyst and without any symptoms, your doctor may ask you to wait for a few weeks before starting treatment. If the ganglion grows in size and if the pain increases considerably,  he may opt for immobilization using a splint or a brace. Exercises to improve the movement of the joints near the ganglion will be suggested by your doctor. If the ganglion has very much increased in size or has limited the movement considerably, then your surgeon may suggest aspiration which is a procedure followed to remove the liquid inside the cyst. In this procedure the ganglion is punctured using the needle of a syringe and the liquid in the ganglion is removed. But this procedure does not solve the problem as the root of the ganglion is not removed in this procedure. After the passage of certain period of time the ganglion may reappear. Aspiration is usually done for ganglion found on the wrist.

Surgical treatment for Ganglion Cyst

If the ganglion is not subsided  by non surgical procedures your doctor may resort to surgical procedures for removing it. This procedure is usually done as an outpatient activity and the patient can go home after the recovery period during which he will be under observation. In this procedure in addition to the cyst the surgeon removes the tendon sheath also. Yet, chances are there that the ganglion may return. Some swelling, discomfort and tenderness will be there after the surgery which will slowly reduce and normal activities will be possible after 2-6 weeks. Controlled movement exercise under the supervision of a physiotherapist is essential for restoring the movement and strength of the elbow joint.

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