A ganglion cyst is a common, non-cancerous fluid filled lump that usually develops on the joints of the wrist or fingers. They can be annoying and unsightly, but normally they require no treatment. There are circumstances, though, when treatment is recommended, so knowing when to remove a ganglion cyst of the wrist is beneficial and can save you a lot of grief.
The Magical Ganglion Cyst
“Now you see it, now you don’t” can describe many a ganglion cyst. They change shape, alter their size, and can appear only to then disappear just as quickly.
These lumps grow out of the tissue near the joint at the end or base of a finger or the back of the wrist, forming into the shape of a balloon or stalk. Activity or stress at the joint causes ganglion cysts to grow bigger, making gymnasts some of the most likely individuals to experience this condition.
Although it can look unattractive, most people don’t bother having their ganglion cyst removed unless it interferes with daily functionality, is painful, or especially if it is growing on the dominant hand. At times, ganglion cysts can cause pressure on a nerve leading to numbness, tingling, pain, and muscle weakness. With these symptoms are present, a ganglion cyst becomes a problem, and it may be time to seek the care of Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas.
How and When to Treat a Ganglion Cyst
Once a patient has officially been diagnosed with a ganglion cyst, there are a number of non-invasive alternatives before surgical removal.
- The “watch and wait” approach may be the first implemented to see if the ganglion cyst will go away or reduce in size on its own.
- The next step could be immobilizing the wrist with a wrist brace of splint. Once the pain is reduced, a series of exercises can be introduced to strengthen the wrist and regain the person’s full range of motion.
- Aspiration is another treatment if the first two options don’t bring significant relief. Aspiration is a technique used to draw out the fluid inside of an individual’s ganglion cyst. Unfortunately, this procedure is not always successful. Ganglion cysts are similar to the weeds in your garden. Unless you remove the root, they can grow back. With aspiration, only the fluid is removed, leaving deeper tissues located at the joint untouched.
- Surgery may be considered if none of the above treatments have been able to rid an individual of their ganglion cyst. At Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas, this type of procedure is performed on an out-patient basis and is called an excision. The goal of surgery is to remove the cyst along with the root, namely the joint capsule or sheath of tissue. Although this is the best method to remove a ganglion cyst, patients should be aware that the cyst still has the potential to grow back yet again.
Contact Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas if you suspect you have a ganglion cyst that needs treatment.