Wrist Cyst - Removal

This surgery involves making a small cut over a ganglion cyst and removing both the cyst and its stem (or stalk).

This surgery involves making a small cut over a ganglion cyst and removing both the cyst and its stem (or stalk).

A ganglion cyst is a round or oval shaped fluid filled lump that grows out of a joint or tendon lining. Ganglion cysts:

  • Are usually found in the wrist or hand
  • Can range in size from ¼ of an inch to over an inch in diameter
  • Are usually filled with a liquid that has been described as jelly-like
  • Can sometimes develop in the ankle or foot

Ganglion cysts sometimes resolve on their own (come and go). They do not need treatment if they are not causing any problems. Your healthcare provider may recommend treatment of a cyst if it causes:

  • Pain
  • Tingling, numbness or weakness in the hand
  • Limited movement of a joint (usually related to the size and location of the cyst)

Surgery to remove a ganglion cyst involves your healthcare provider making a small cut over the cyst.

  • The cyst and stem (the part that attaches the cyst to the joint or tendon) are removed.
  • The wound is closed with stitches.

It has not been determined exactly what causes ganglion cysts. Some factors that may increase a person's risk include:

  • Being a female between the ages of twenty and thirty
  • Having arthritis in the joints of the fingers
  • Having an injury to a joint or tendon

If you think you have a ganglion cyst, see your healthcare provider. He or she will take a medical history and perform a physical examination.

  • The examination may include putting pressure on the cyst to find out if you have any pain.
  • It may also include shining a light through the cyst to see if it is solid or filled with liquid.
  • Imaging studies (X-ray, MRI or ultrasound) are rarely needed or recommended.

If your cyst is causing symptoms, your healthcare provider may refer you to a hand surgeon for further evaluation and treatment.

Often, ganglion cysts do not cause any problems or require any treatment. In those cases, a watch-and-wait approach is the usual recommendation. However, if a ganglion cyst is causing problems (i.e., pain or limitation of joint movement), your healthcare provider may recommend that you:

  • Wear a wrist brace or splint
  • Have the fluid drained from the cyst
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers

Do not try to pop a ganglion cyst or hit it with something heavy. Those actions are not likely to be effective and can lead to complications.

If symptoms persist, your healthcare provider may recommend a minor surgical procedure that involves removing the ganglion cyst and stem.

  • During the surgery, you will likely receive regional anesthesia, which is a technique that numbs the area of the incision.
  • You may also be given a relaxing medication given through an IV (a small needle placed in your vein). You will be awake during surgery.
  • In very rare cases, general anesthesia is needed. This is a medication that puts you into a deep sleep where you will be unable to see, hear or feel anything.

You will go home the day of your surgery.

  • You may need pain medication and help at home for a few days.
  • Do not forget to arrange for transportation to and from the facility and for help at home.

Make an appointment with your healthcare provider if you have symptoms of a ganglion cyst.

  • Bring a copy of your medical history (past illnesses, surgeries and hospitalizations).
  • Make a list of your medications (including over-the-counter).
  • Write down any questions, symptoms or concerns you want to talk about.

Here are some questions to ask your healthcare provider:

  • What is my diagnosis and what treatment are you recommending? Are there any alternatives?
  • Is there a way to stop recurrences of the cyst?
  • When might I start to see improvement in my symptoms?
  • What are my follow-up plans and what symptoms should I report before my next appointment?

Make sure you understand your treatment plan, possible alternatives and any medications that are recommended (including possible side effects).

Source UHC.com

Also known as:

Wrist Surgery
Wrist Cyst - Removal
Removal of Cyst
Ganglion Cyst
Cyst Removal

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