The Hand Center welcomes Jill Putnam, MD to the practice! Dr. Putnam will start September 1st.

My Primary Care Physician Says I Have a Ganglion Cyst, Should I Be Concerned?

Don’t be overly concerned if you’ve been diagnosed with a ganglion cyst. This noncancerous growth develops on your wrist or finger and may look alarming, as it’s filled with a jelly-like fluid.

The cyst isn’t threatening to your medical well-being, but can cause pain and affect your hand’s ability to function. If you have a symptomatic ganglion cyst, our skilled orthopedic team at The Hand Center is ready to help.

Here’s what you should know about your ganglion cyst and how to determine if you need intervention.

About a ganglion cyst

A fluid-filled sac that develops along a joint or tendon in your hand, a ganglion cyst is most commonly found on the back of your wrist or on a finger joint, but they can sometimes form on your feet or ankles.

The cysts vary in size. Some are as small as a pencil eraser, but they can grow to the size of a quarter. A ganglion cyst itself doesn’t endanger your health, but if it develops along a nerve, it can cause pain. And cysts that form on joints may prevent you from using your hands or wrists normally.

Why ganglion cysts develop

Although it’s not completely understood why ganglion cysts develop, and anyone can acquire one, you may be more at risk if you have osteoarthritis or a history of injury to your hand or wrist. Women ages of 20-40 are more susceptible. Gymnasts are particularly prone to the development of these cysts due to the stress that their hands and wrists endure for their sport.

Seeking treatment for a ganglion cyst

Even if you suspect a growth on your hand is a ganglion cyst, get it checked out to rule out other possible causes. If the cyst is causing pain or affecting mobility, we can offer treatment. Sometimes the cyst is simply aesthetically displeasing, and you want it gone.

After a thorough examination, which may include diagnostic testing, such as an X-ray or MRI, and a review of your symptoms, our medical staff at The Hand Center recommends an effective treatment plan for your ganglion cyst.

Treatment options

In many instances, medical intervention for a ganglion cyst is unnecessary. You simply should immobilize the area of the cyst, and it will shrink on its own.

If your cyst is painful or keeps you from doing the things you enjoy, the experts at The Hand Center may recommend:

Aspiration: This is a simple procedure in which we place a needle in the cyst and drain the fluid, which should relieve your symptoms. Ganglion cysts sometimes grow back after aspiration.

Surgery: We may recommend surgery if your ganglion cyst has grown back after aspiration. During surgical excision, we remove the cyst and a portion of the affected joint capsule or tendon sheath, which serves as the root of the cyst. Your hand or wrist may be tender after surgery, but you should be able to get back to your regular activities within six weeks.

While an excision may help prevent the return of your ganglion cyst, there’s still a small chance it may recur.  

A ganglion cyst isn’t something to worry about, but it can be inconvenient, painful, and unattractive. If you have a lump on your hand or wrist, contact The Hand Center experts at one of our offices in Glastonbury, Hartford, Tolland, and Bloomfield, Connecticut. Call today for an appointment or schedule yours while you’re here on our website. 

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