ganglion arises out of a joint, like a balloon on a stalk. It grows out of the
tissues surrounding a joint, such as ligaments, tendon sheaths, and joint
linings. Inside the balloon is a thick, slippery fluid, similar to the fluid
that lubricates your joints.
cysts can develop in several of the joints in the hand and wrist, including:
vary in size, and in many cases, grow larger with increased activity. With
rest, the lump usually becomes smaller.
is not known what triggers the formation of a ganglion.
cysts that develop at the end joint on the nail side of a finger — also known
as mucous cysts — are typically associated with arthritis in the finger joint
and are more common in women between the ages of 40 and 70.
ganglions form a visible lump; however, smaller ganglions can remain hidden
under the skin (occult ganglions). Although many ganglions produce no other
symptoms besides the appearance of a mass, if a cyst puts pressure on the
nerves that pass across the joint, it can cause pain, tingling, and muscle
you have a large cyst, even if it is not painful, you may feel anxious or
unhappy simply because of how it looks.
you have no pain or other symptoms, your Hand therapist may recommend just
waiting and watching to make sure that no unusual changes occur. This is
typically safe because ganglions are not cancerous and may disappear on their
own in time.
often causes the ganglion to increase in size, which may increase pressure on
surrounding nerves, causing pain. A splint may relieve symptoms and cause the
ganglion to decrease in size. As pain decreases, your Hand Therapist will
prescribe exercises to strengthen the wrist and improve range of motion.
aspiration often fails to eliminate the ganglion because the root or connection
to the joint or tendon sheath is not removed. A ganglion can be like a weed
which will grow back if the root is not addressed. Thus, in many cases,
the ganglion cyst returns after an aspiration procedure.
doctor may recommend surgery if your symptoms are not relieved by nonsurgical
methods, or if the ganglion returns after aspiration. The procedure to remove a
ganglion cyst is called an excision.
involves removing the cyst as well as addressing the stalk from which the cyst
arises. This may mean removing part of the involved joint capsule or tendon
sheath to ensure removal of the root of the cyst. Even after excision, there is
a small chance the ganglion will return.
may be some tenderness, discomfort, and swelling after surgery. You are usually
able to resume normal activities 2 to 6 weeks after the procedure. Your Hand
Therapist will guide you through the recovery process post operatively.