Are Ganglion Cysts Serious?

Are Ganglion Cysts Serious?

A ganglion cyst is a noncancerous lump that develops on a joint. It can appear suddenly, change in size and shape rapidly, and swell with activity.

Discovering that you have a ganglion cyst can be startling. Although they’re almost always harmless, some ganglion cysts can press on nerves, cause pain, limit mobility, and be a source of embarrassment.

If you have a bothersome ganglion cyst, Kristopher Downing, MD, can diagnose and treat it. Our team at Upper Extremity Specialists, of Ortho 1 Medical Group, offers top-tier care for wrist and hand issues, including ganglion cysts.

All about ganglion cysts

ganglion cyst is a fluid-filled sac that emerges from a joint. It grows from the tissues of your joint, and creates a balloon that attaches to the joint by a stalk. It’s filled with a thick, viscous fluid.

While ganglion cysts can form on almost any joint, they’re most common on the hands and wrists. Most people with ganglion cysts get them on the back of one wrist, but they may also appear along the joints of the fingers.

Anyone can get a ganglion cyst, and it’s not clear why they develop. Your risk of getting one may be higher if:

Ganglion cysts evolve quickly. They can appear seemingly out of nowhere, then disappear rapidly. They can also change in size. Ganglions may grow larger with activity and shrink when you rest.

Despite their rapid development and evolution, ganglion cysts are usually harmless. They aren’t cancerous, and they may not require treatment if you don’t notice any bothersome symptoms. In fact, many ganglion cysts disappear on their own over time.

Treatment options for a ganglion cyst

The most obvious symptom of a ganglion cyst is a visible lump under your skin. For many people, this is their only symptom. However, some ganglion cysts can squeeze the nerves in the affected joint, causing pain, tingling, and weakness.

If you have pain or other symptoms due to a ganglion cyst, it might be time to consider treatment to remove the cyst. Even if your cyst doesn’t cause other symptoms, you may want treatment due to its appearance.

After examining your cyst, Dr. Downing works with you to form a treatment plan. Small cysts may improve with a combination of watchful waiting and temporary immobilization with a splint.

For more severe cysts, Dr. Downing may recommend aspiration or surgery. Aspiration involves puncturing the cyst with a needle and draining the fluid. While aspiration can be effective, it doesn’t remove the cyst’s stalk, so it’s possible that the cyst will fill with fluid again in the future.

Surgery can be a more effective treatment method, and it reduces the chances that the ganglion cyst will return. In this outpatient procedure, Dr. Downing removes both the cyst and its stalk. Recovery typically takes 2-6 weeks following surgery.

You don’t have to live with a painful, unsightly ganglion cyst. Get a thorough evaluation and a customized treatment plan by booking an appointment online or over the phone with Upper Extremity Specialists today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Will a Hairline Fracture Heal on Its Own?

Hairline fractures and stress fractures are small, but that doesn't mean they’re not a big deal. Here’s what to do if you think you have a hairline fracture, so you can find a treatment plan and start healing faster.

Is PRP Right for Me?

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy is a drug-free treatment that can reduce pain and speed healing in orthopedic injuries. Read on to learn what’s involved in this popular procedure and if it could help you.

How Physical Therapy Helps Get You Back in the Game

A sports injury can happen in an instant — and put you on the sidelines for the foreseeable future. But, physical therapy could help you get back in the game faster. Read on to find out what’s involved in physical therapy.

4 Common Orthopedic Traumas

Orthopedic trauma affects the musculoskeletal system, and injuries can range from sprains to fractures. Learn about four of the most common orthopedic injuries and what you can do to promote healing and protect your health.

5 Signs of a Hand Injury

When your hand hurts, you notice. But determining if your symptoms warrant a trip to the doctor isn’t always so easy. Learn the signs of serious hand injury, so you can get the treatment you need.