A ganglion cyst is a lump or swelling on the joint or tendon in the hand. The swelling is caused by a cyst filled with a thick, clear jelly-like material. The cyst can range from pea-size to as large as golf ball in some cases and may be associated with pain or weakness. Ganglion cysts are most commonly seen on the front or back of the wrist (wrist ganglion), just below the nail on back of finger (mucous cyst), or on palm of hand at the base of the finger (seed cyst).They are more common in women and occur 70% of the time in people 20-40 years of age.
The cause of a ganglion cyst is not known. They may be the result of trauma in the area or chronic irritation from repetitive movements. Another theory is that there is a flaw in the joint capsule or tendon covering that allows the joint tissue to bulge out.
Many ganglion cysts disappear on their own with no treatment at all. Often the cysts are treated by a doctor with a simple procedure that involves draining the cyst with a needle, but this can have a high recurrence rate. If you are experiencing pain or the cyst is interfering with the function of your hand, surgery is the most effective treatment
A Ganglion cyst is surgically removed with local freezing. You stay awake during the surgery and can go home a few hours later.
For the first couple of weeks you should avoid activities that may increase your blood pressure or require use of your hand other than for minimal daily activities such as dressing or feeding yourself. Typically you can resume normal activity and return to work between 2 and 6 weeks depending on how physical you job is.
As in any surgery, risks include infection, scarring, delayed wound healing, bruising or bleeding, incomplete excision, and recurrence. Complications in this procedure are relatively uncommon but will be discussed further at the time of consultation.