Ganglion cysts are the most common masses seen in the hand and wrist. They usually appear on the back of the wrist, but can also occur on the palm side or at the base of the fingers. They arise from the tissue which lines the joints or tendons and fill with fluid. They can increase in size during periods of irritation and often resolve spontaneously. Ganglion cysts are benign and are not cancerous.
When the cyst is small and painless it does not have to be treated. If the cyst enlarges rapidly, becomes painful or interferes with use of the hand, treatment can be instituted. This includes rest, splinting and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication. Aspiration and cortisone injection may be beneficial, depending on the location. If these treatments fail, surgical excision can be performed. At surgery, the cyst is identified and removed with its stalk.
At Central Jersey Hand Surgery, this procedure is performed under regional anesthesia and usually takes about 30 minutes. This is done as same day surgery with a soft dressing or splint applied to the hand and wrist. The fingers can be moved immediately.
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