January 4, 2016

What is a ganglion cyst?

Diseases and Conditions | Hand, Wrist and Elbow | Urgent Care


What is a ganglion cyst?

A true ganglion cyst is a soft tissue tumor that is usually benign. It originates from a joint space or a tendon surface.

Who is most likely to develop a ganglion cyst?

A ganglion cyst can occur in just about anyone for no particular reason, at any time. They may seem to occur more in families; however, there is no proven genetic connection.

What causes ganglion cysts and is there a way to prevent them?

There is no documented specific cause of a ganglion cyst but in the past it has been associated with overuse syndromes or remote ligament sprains. In terms of prevention, ganglion cysts usually occur totally unexpected so there is no prevention method or warning other than the occurrence of the cyst.

What are the symptoms of a ganglion cyst?

Symptoms include a lump or bump that may or may not be painful. It usually varies in size becoming larger with increased activity or motion of the affected joint or tendon.

When should you seek treatment for a ganglion cyst?

Any lump or bump should be evaluated by a qualified physician to check for the possibilities of other types of soft tissue tumors, which can be mistaken for a ganglion cyst.

What are the nonsurgical treatment options for ganglion cysts?

Nonsurgical treatment options include decreasing the amount of repetitive motion the affected joint or tendon may experience daily. Usually by using a splint or modifying daily activities.

A more aggressive type of nonsurgical management is a needle aspiration which is an in office procedure; however, not all cysts are responsive to needle aspiration.

What are the surgical treatment options for ganglion cysts?

The surgical treatment option for a ganglion cyst is surgical removal of the cyst. Approximately 70 percent of cysts will not reoccur with this method.

Additional information:

It is not recommended that a patient with a ganglion cyst try to alleviate it by using a needle to pop it as that may cause serious complications including infection.

Relieve pain from hand, wrist or elbow injuries

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Megan Golden

By Megan Golden

Megan Golden worked at OrthoIndy from 2012 to 2019, where she wrote a variety of content for our blog, magazines and inbound campaigns. Megan graduated from Ball State University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and advertising and communications studies minor.

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