A ganglion cyst may sound scary, but it is not a health threat. These benign fluid-filled sacs vary in size and are often found along the joints of the hand and wrist. While these lumps may cause mild symptoms and are no real health risk, you may want to have them removed. But what kind of doctor removes ganglion cysts? And how?

At EmergeOrtho, we offer sophisticated subspecialty orthopedic care for a range of musculoskeletal conditions and injuries. When it comes to the treatment and/or removal of any type of cyst, our Hand and Wrist Team will create a personalized plan to address your specific needs. Find out everything you need to know about cysts on the hands and wrists and how our physicians help you Emerge Stronger. Healthier. Better.

How Do You Know if You Have a Ganglion Cyst?

Typically painless and harmless, ganglion cysts form as lumps along the joints of the hands and wrists. They can be different sizes. Often, ganglion cysts on the finger, near the fingernail are smaller than a pea. Inside, these cysts are filled with a clear, gel-like fluid. They are usually oval or round and range from being soft to firm.

An index finger is pictured with a small round, reddish ganglion cyst near the fingernail bed. Although they are not painful, ganglion cysts can be tender or uncomfortable, especially when pressure is applied.

Many people are curious about how ganglion cysts develop. While the root causes are unknown, there is a pattern of finding ganglion cysts in close proximity to areas affected by:

  • Arthritis
  • Tendon irritation
  • Injury

They are also more common in women and people between the ages of 15 and 40. Research also demonstrates a higher presence of ganglion cysts in gymnasts and those whose wrists are exposed to overuse and stress.

An orthopedic hand and wrist specialist can diagnose a ganglion cyst by examining its location. In some instances, shining a light through the cysts or acquiring an X-Ray of the area (to detect joint damage) can confirm a diagnosis.

Treatment Options for Ganglion Cysts

Again, since ganglion cysts are not harmful or painful, they can often simply be observed by your orthopedic physician.

Other conservative treatment options include:

  • Splints
  • Anti-inflammatory medication (for ganglion cyst pain management in the rare case of discomfort)
  • Minimally invasive “aspiration” to remove the fluid from the cyst (while this will decompress the cyst temporarily, common recurrence is linked to this treatment method)

If the cyst is causing pain and nonsurgical techniques have not proven effective, surgical intervention may be required by conducting a ganglion cyst removal.

Ganglion Cyst Removal

During a ganglion cyst removal procedure, the surgeon makes an incision at the site of the cyst and removes it from the stem that connects it to the joint or tendon. General or local anesthesia is usually given and the surgery only takes about 30 minutes. After the procedure, the hand is bandaged and the patient should keep the hand elevated to reduce swelling. Most patients experience excellent results from this simple surgery.

Additional Diagnosis and Treatment of Hand and Wrists Cysts

It is quite rare for cysts of the hand and wrist to be malignant. With that said, if you have noticed a change in size, color or appearance of a cyst, notify your orthopedic specialist right away.

Whether your EmergeOrtho Hand and Wrist doctor determines that you have a ganglion cyst or other diagnosis, we offer treatment for:

  • Cysts on the hand
  • Tumors located on the hand
  • Cysts near joints
  • Soft tissue masses

If you would like to have your cyst examined or removed by an EmergeOrtho sub-specialty hand and wrist doctor, request an appointment now.

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