Ganglion Cysts…definitely scary sounding…but not to fear!
Ganglion cysts are very common and are easily treatable.
What are they?
• Ganglion cysts are lumps within the hand or wrist.
• They are usually located next to a joint or a tendon.
• The most common locations are the base of the finger, the top of the end joint of the finger, the palm side of the wrist and the top of the wrist.
• Inside the cyst is a clear, thick, jelly-like material.
• The cyst may feel firm or spongy, depending on its size.
• Ganglion cysts are more common in women.
• The majority occur in people between the ages of 20-40.
The cause of ganglion cysts is a mystery but it is theorized that:
• Trauma may cause the tissue of the joint to break down forming small cysts which then join to form a larger cyst, or
• A flaw in the joint capsule or tendon covering allows the joint tissue to bulge.
It is difficult to know how to prevent ganglion cysts, however early evaluation and treatment are recommended.
• Ganglion cysts may change size or disappear completely.
• They may or may not be painful.
• Many are without symptoms except for their appearance.
• If they are painful, however, the pain is usually a nonstop aching which is made worse by movement of the joint.
• They are not cancerous and will not spread to other areas of the body.
• If the cyst is connected to a tendon, there may be a feeling of weakness in the affected finger.
What to do?
• Treatment is often non-surgical.
• The cyst can simply be observed, especially if it is painless.
• If the cyst becomes painful or limits activity, there are treatment options available:
• Anti-inflammatory medication may be prescribed for pain.
• An aspiration may be performed to remove the fluid from the cyst.
• This requires placing a needle into the cyst.
• Aspiration is a simple procedure but recurrence of the cyst is common.
• Surgical alternatives are available which are generally successful.
Dr. Kimmel specializes in the treatment of ganglion cysts. Call for a consultation today!