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GANGLION CYST

GANGLION CYST

Ganglion cysts are noncancerous lumps that most commonly develop along the tendons or joints of your wrists or hands. They also may occur in the ankles and feet. Ganglion cysts are typically round or oval and are filled with a jellylike fluid.

Small ganglion cysts can be pea-sized, while larger ones can be around an inch (2.5 centimeters) in diameter. Ganglion cysts can be painful if they press on a nearby nerve. Their location can sometimes interfere with joint movement.

If your ganglion cyst is causing you problems, your doctor may suggest trying to drain the cyst with a needle. Removing the cyst surgically also is an option. But if you have no symptoms, no treatment is necessary. In many cases, the cysts go away on their own.

HAND & WRIST ANATOMY

DISEASE EXPLAINED

SYMPTOMS

Location
Ganglion cysts most commonly develop along the tendons or joints of your wrists or hands. The next most common locations are the ankles and feet. These cysts can occur near other joints as well.

Shape and size
Ganglion cysts are round or oval and usually measure less than an inch (2.5 centimeters) in diameter. Some are so small that they can't be felt. The size of a cyst can fluctuate, often getting larger when you use that joint for repetitive motions.

Pain
Ganglion cysts usually are painless. But if a cyst presses on a nerve — even if the cyst is too small to form a noticeable lump — it can cause pain, tingling, numbness or muscle weakness.

CAUSES

Your sex and age
Ganglion cysts can develop in anyone, but they most commonly occur in women between the ages of 20 and 40.

Osteoarthritis
People who have wear-and-tear arthritis in the finger joints closest to their fingernails are at higher risk of developing ganglion cysts near those joints.

Joint or tendon injury
Joints or tendons that have been injured in the past are more likely to develop ganglion cysts.

TREATMENT

TREATMENT OPTIONS

Ganglion cysts are often painless, requiring no treatment. Your doctor may suggest a watch-and-wait approach. If the cyst is causing pain or interfering with joint movement, your doctor may recommend:

Immobilization
Because activity can cause the ganglion cyst to get larger, it may help to temporarily immobilize the area with a brace or splint. As the cyst shrinks, it may release the pressure on your nerves, relieving pain. Avoid long-term use of a brace or splint, which can cause the nearby muscles to weaken.

Aspiration
In this procedure, your doctor uses a needle to drain the fluid from the cyst. The cyst may recur.

Surgery
This may be an option if other approaches haven't worked. During this procedure, the doctor removes the cyst and the stalk that attaches it to the joint or tendon. Rarely, the surgery can injure the surrounding nerves, blood vessels or tendons. And the cyst can recur, even after surgery.

CONTACTING DR. PERLMUTTER

Texting is preferred by Dr. Perlmutter for communication (717-836-6833). Please contact him ASAP, should you have any concerns whatsoever. Many patients fail to contact Dr. Perlmutter when they should have because they are "afraid of bothering him." This is a potentially dangerous attitude and Dr. Perlmutter will always welcome every opportunity to make his patients feel more comfortable. Please feel comfortable sending photographs to add perspective to your questions. Please turn on your flash, aim directly at the body part that you wish to show, and use an evenly colored, dark, and non-reflective background.

If you cannot text, you may call Dr. Perlmutter, however, you must use a confirmed caller ID unblocked telephone or he will not be able to return your call. If you need help turning off this feature you may:

1) Try pushing *82 prior to dialing, or

2) Use a different phone.

Your failure to do so will absolutely compromise your care and hurt your outcome!

If Dr. Perlmutter cannot be reached on his cell phone or by text, please contact the hospital operator to assist in reaching him or a member of his team. They can be reached at NASH: 252-962-8000. ECU Edgecombe: 252-641-7700.

IF YOU PERCEIVE AN EMERGENCY, PLEASE CALL 911 OR GO TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM ASAP.

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