Mr Omar Tillo
Consultant Plastic Surgeon
Ganglion cysts are smooth lumps which appear on the fingers, wrist or joint beneath the skin. These lumps consist of synovial fluid which surrounds the joints and tendons. If the cyst is connected to a tendon, you may sometimes experience a weakness in the affected finger.
The cyst may appear to be 1-3cm in diameter, and will not move.
Currently, there is no known cause for ganglion cysts. In some cases, they will occur when the synovial fluid leaks out from around the joints and creates a sack. In other instances, there may be a trauma or injury which causes the tissue to break down, forming a mass that appears as a cyst.
They will more frequently occur on women aged between 20 to 40 but can occur on the hands of both genders and on people of all ages.
These lumps are harmless, although they may sometimes cause physical pain. This pain can sometimes be chronic and will be worsened by joint motion.
In some cases, the ganglion cyst will disappear on its own without any treatment. However, for others, the cyst will not disappear, and you may wish to have the cyst surgically removed.
You will be an eligible candidate for ganglion cyst removal if you have a cyst which is causing you pain, joint restriction, or you dislike the appearance of.
You will have to be at least 18 years old and have a complete understanding of what the surgery can achieve.
Before undergoing surgery, you will meet with your surgeon, who will be able to assess if you are a suitable candidate.
If your cyst is not disappearing and has not responded to non-surgical options, you may wish to undergo surgical cyst removal.
Cyst removal is done by undergoing open surgery. The surgeon will make a small incision over the cyst. As there is no known cause for the cysts, it is hard to know how exactly to prevent the cysts. However, open surgery is the best way to prevent the cyst from recurring.
The incision site will be stitched and bandages will be placed over the wrist.
The surgery will be performed under a local anaesthetic, so you will be awake but unable to feel any pain or discomfort. You will be able to return home the same day as the procedure.
You may experience some mild pain or discomfort; you can take pain medication to help alleviate any symptoms. You may notice some bruising or swelling around the incision site which will fade after a few days.
You will be given a splint which you will need to wear for 7 to 10 days. You may also need to wear a sling for a few days to help support the wrist. After this, you will be encouraged to move your wrist around as soon as possible. While wearing the splint, make sure to keep moving your fingers in order to move the joints.
How much time you need to take off work will vary from person to person, depending on where the cyst is located and what type of employment you undertake. If you have an office job, you may not need to take any time off work; if your job involves manual labour you may need to take more time off work while the hand recovers.
A ganglion cyst is a smooth lump which appears under the skin, often near the tendon or joint in the wrist, hand or fingers. The cyst consists of synovial fluid and can range in size, appearing pea sized to golf ball sized.
Currently, there is no known reason for why ganglion cysts appear.
Surgical ganglion cyst removal is not necessary for everyone. In some cases, the cysts will go away on their own, without any intervention. You may also wish to try non-surgical options, such as steroid injections.
If you are experiencing physical pain, movement restrictions, the cyst is causing numbness or tingling, or you do not like the appearance of the cyst, you may wish to have it surgically removed.
The surgeon will make an incision over the joint or tendon and will be able to remove the cyst. The incision will then be stitched shut and a dressing will be placed over the wrist.
The procedure is done under a local anaesthetic, so you will be awake the whole time, but unable to feel anything in the treatment area.
You will have to wear a splint for 7 to 10 days. However, you will be encouraged to move the fingers to ensure there is joint movement.
You may experience some slight pain or discomfort following the procedure. You may notice bruising or swelling, which will go away after a few days.
This will vary depending on the location of the cyst which was removed, and what type of job you have.
If you have a physically intensive job, you may require some time off while you are wearing the splint and your hand is recovering. If you have an office job, you may feel you do not need to take any time off work.