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Cause,Treatment and Removal of Ganglion Cysts

Updated on November 11, 2010

What are Ganglion Cysts

What is it?

A Ganglion Cyst is a noncancerous fluid-filled lump or cyst that most commonly develop along the tendons or joints of your wrists or hands. They may also appear in your feet. It is filled with a jelly like substance. They may feel firm or almost spongy. Ganglion cysts are more common in women than men. 70% occur in people between the ages of 20-40. It is very rare that these cysts occur in children under 10.

The Ganglion Cyst is referred to as the Bible Cyst. It is said that the way to rid yourself of this was to hit the cyst as hard as you can with a bible. Therefore, causing the cyst to burst and the substance within to diminish. However, they regularly reappeared and wasn't a popular choice of treatment as you can imagine..


Diagnosis of Cyst

Luckily, there are better options of treatment today.

But first, you want to make an appointment with your Doctor to confirm this is what you have.

Your Doctor may:

  • Use a syringe to draw out some of the fluid in the cyst or order an ultrasound.
  • Refer you to a Hand Surgeon or Orthopedic Doctor if the cyst involves an artery.
  • Order a MRI of the area. However, this is rarely needed and is costly.

Your Doctor may require you to wear a brace or splint to stop aggravation. Activity can make the ganglion cyst grow larger, so by immobilizing the area it helps your hand and wrist rest, which may help shrink the cyst. As the cyst shrinks, it may release the pressure on your nerves, relieving pain.


Treatment options for removal of the cyst are:

  • Placing a needle into the cyst, drawing the liquid material out, injecting a steroid compound (anti-inflammatory), and then splinting your wrist to keep it from moving. This is referred to as Aspiration.
  • Surgical removal- this is an option when the cyst is painful, causes numbness or tingling in your fingers or is on your dominant hand which causes interference. Ex: handwriting.

After surgery there will be some recovery time. Although it is an outpatient treatment, you will be required to wear a hard splint or cast for 6-8 weeks depending on your situation and location of the cyst. These treatments do not guarantee that the cyst will remain gone as recurrence is possible. But an early evaluation and treatment can help.


Because the cause of ganglion cysts are unknown, there is no real prevention.


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