Ganglion cysts usually grow from the linings of tendons and joints. They contain a gelatinous fluid that, most of the time, develops on the back of the fingers or wrist. However, they can develop on other areas of the hand and wrist, as well as on the ankles or feet.
While ganglion is not dangerous nor cancerous, it can sometimes press on a nerve, which can cause severe pain. Depending on the area of the pain, this can cause restrictions to movements, which can greatly impact your day-to-day life. Having a ganglion removal procedure allows you to regain your freedom of movement and feel less pain. However, some people may not feel any pain, and simply wish for the ganglion cysts to be removed to improve their aesthetic appearance.
Can I have ganglion cyst removal?
If you have a ganglion cyst and wish to have it removed, you are considered a suitable candidate. It does no matter whether you are experiencing physical pain or it is just a cosmetic removal.
Prior to any surgical procedure to remove the cyst, ensure you have a consultation. This will allow a doctor to properly examine the ganglion cyst, and ensure what the best method for removal is. A consultation will also give you the chance to discuss your medical history, as well as answer any questions you have about the procedure.
What options are there for removal?
There are different procedures a doctor can recommend for ganglion removal. These include:
- Surgery: this is the most common option that many doctors recommend their patients. The entire surgical procedure usually takes around one hour during which the doctor will perform a cut with a scalpel to remove the sac. Then, the incision is closed with sutures. The procedure is mostly performed under local anaesthesia.
- Aspiration: this is a common alternative to the surgical procedure and involves having the cyst drained. During the process, the doctor punctures the ganglion with a needle in order to drain fluids, thus making the cyst shrink. It is important to note that this option does not completely remove the cyst, and it may return in the future.
In some instances, removal may not be necessary. Instead, doctors may recommend you to wear a wrist brace. This will restrict the movement around the ganglion. This is often a more appropriate option for those who do not experience pain caused by the ganglion pressing on surrounding nerves.
What happens during the recovery period?
The recovery period will vary from person to person. You may find you need several days to recover, while others may need a few weeks. If you have had a surgical removal, doctors will generally recommend that you should rest for two weeks.
During this period, you will have to avoid any strenuous exercises, particularly lifting heavy objects. However, you should try and keep some motion in your fingers and ensure they are still mobile in order to avoid weakening the fingers.
Are there any side effects?
As with any surgical procedure, there are potential rare side effects which can occur. These include:
- Allergic reaction to the anaesthetic
- Sensitivity around the scar tissue
- Limitations with movements around the wrist