What is a ganglion cyst?
A ganglion cyst is a benign mass commonly found on the wrist and the end joints in the fingers. These typically arise from a joint or a tendon. They are filled with a thick fluid that acts as a lubricant for the joint or tendon. The fluid leaks from the joint and is covered by a thick sheath.
What are the symptoms of ganglion cyst?
People will notice a growth on the wrist or fingers. This growth will often fluctuate in size as the fluid moves in and out of the joint/tendon sheath. It often has well defined borders. Usually these are asymptomatic, but they can cause pain with joint motion.
How is a ganglion cyst diagnosed?
Ganglion cyst is most often diagnosed by history and physical exam. An X-ray may be ordered to look at the underlying joint.
What is the treatment for a ganglion cyst?
In most cases, the initial treatment for ganglion cyst is without surgery. If the cyst is located in a safe location, aspiration of the fluid with a needle is attempted. This results in resolution 40% of the time, which is still less risky than surgery. If the cyst is not in a location allowing drainage, or it recurs after drainage, then surgical removal is warranted.
What does ganglion cyst surgery involve?
Ganglion cyst surgery involves removing the cyst with its capsule. Often a small piece of the underlying joint capsule or tendon sheath is removed with the cyst. This prevents recurrence.
What are the main risks of this surgery?
• Swelling, stiffness, and pain
• Nerve Damage
• Arterial damage
• Tendon or joint damage
What is the recovery after ganglion cyst surgery?
This is dependant on the type of work you perform. Many patients with office jobs only require a few days. However, patients who perform heavy labor may require 4-5 weeks to recover. Usually, you can return to work within a couple days with a splint in place. The splint will be removed in 2 weeks.You may drive when you are off narcotics and feel confident to control the car. Most patients are able to drive within a week.
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