Ganglion cysts are fluid filled masses, which can form on the joints or tendons of the hand and wrist. They typically found on the back or palm side of the wrist or inside the palm where the fingers start. They are benign lesions, which tend to arise in areas of weakness in the joint or tendon.
Although they can be quite noticeable, the ganglion cyst may come with no symptoms (asymptomatic). If symptoms are present it typically includes pain or a feeling of fullness. Occasionally the ganglion may compress nerves running near it.
If surgery is indicated, it would be done on an outpatient basis, meaning patient could return home same day. After surgery, a splint is worn for wrist ganglions for 10 days. Finger ganglions do not need a splint after surgery. Therapy should be instituted very early and recovery time is variable depending on location of the ganglion.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are the symptoms?
A: If symptoms are present, there is typically pain or a feeling of fullness. Occasionally the ganglion may compress nerves running near it, increasing pain.
Q: What can be done?
A: If the ganglion is asymptomatic, no treatment may be indicated. If symptoms are present, there are several treatment options available. Depending on location the cyst may be aspirated. However it is important to keep in mind with this treatment there is high recurrence. Surgical excision done on an outpatient basis is the best way to minimize the rate of recurrence.
Q: When can I get back to work?
A: This is tough to answer and is largely dependent on the location of the cyst and the type of work you will be returning to. If not working with hands or you are able to function with one hand, return to work can be right away depending on patient comfort/pain.