Ganglion Cysts

The most common hand or wrist growth

Ganglion cysts are round, swollen lumps that typically appear on the wrist or hand. They tend to grow along joints or tendons, and look like small sacs of liquid protruding from the skin. Between 30 and 50 percent of ganglion cysts go away on their own. However, if yours is bothering you, we can remove it through treatment.

About ganglion cysts

Ganglion cysts are noncancerous, and in some cases painless. They usually grow to around the size of a cherry, though they often grow larger if they are located on a joint used for repetitive motion, such as the wrist.

What causes ganglion cysts?

The exact cause of ganglion cysts is unknown, though they tend to appear in response to tendon or joint trauma. Women ages 20 to 40 are more likely to develop ganglion cysts. Additionally, those with osteoarthritis or a previous joint/tendon injury are more susceptible to developing ganglion cysts on areas that have suffered wear and tear.

Treatment options for ganglion cysts

We often recommend you simply monitor the size of a painless ganglion cyst rather than trying to remove it. However, if a cyst is interfering with hand or wrist function or causing pain, we provide several treatments, including:

  • Aspiration: We insert a needle into the cyst to drain it.
  • Steroid injection: Often paired with aspiration, we inject hydrocortisone, an anti-inflammation medication, into the cyst.
  • Excision: If other treatment options fail, we can surgically remove the cyst and the stalk that attaches it to the affected joint or tendon area.

Ganglion cysts may return after treatment, though repeated treatments offer a higher success rate.

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