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Ganglion Cyst: What Is It And How Is It Treated?

Ganglion Cyst: What Is It And How Is It Treated?

Our hands do so much for us. They are capable of a wide variety of functions such as touching, grasping, holding, and more. Our hands are two of the most important tools we have and are used in almost every aspect of our lives. Therefore, it is important that we keep them safe and healthy. Sometimes bumps can develop on our hands or in the area of the wrist. These bumps that never seem to go away are called ganglion cysts. Ganglion cysts can occur in patients of all ages and may form in the presence of joint or tendon irritation, arthritis, mechanical changes, or injury. It may be described as a mass swelling or bump and only requires assessment and treatment if it bothers you or causes pain.

What Is A Ganglion Cyst?

A Ganglion Cyst is a small sac of fluid that typically forms over a joint or tendon in the hand or wrist. Inside of the cyst is a clear, jelly-like fluid that when pressed feels firm or spongey. The cyst is noncancerous, however, if pressed against a nerve, it can cause significant pain. Some ganglion cysts may increase or decrease in size over time or may disappear altogether.

Signs And Symptoms

A Ganglion Cyst may or may not be painful. The cyst is round or oval in shape and can be both soft or very firm. Cysts near the fingers or on the palm of the hand are typically more firm than ones located on the back of the wrist or top of the hand. They are often smaller than a pea and can be tender when pressed. Ganglion Cysts are capable of getting smaller in size and disappearing and then reappearing over time. If the cyst is connected to a tendon, it may cause a sense of weakness in the affected finger.  

Diagnosis And Treatment

If you have a bump on your wrist or hand, you should seek medical attention. Your doctor may perform an x-ray or ultrasound on the bump to determine the cause of the bump and if it is affecting any tendons or ligaments in your hand. A ganglion cyst typically does not need emergency treatment or surgical intervention unless it is causing significant pain.

If you require surgical treatment, a plastic surgeon will perform hand surgery to remove the cyst and part of the tendon sheath the cyst is attached to. After the surgery, you will have full mobility of your hand pain-free.

Kelowna Plastic Surgeon

If you notice a bump on your hand beginning to form, or one that continuously disappears and then reappears over time, contact your doctor right away to get the bump evaluated. If the bump is causing pain or discomfort, seek medical attention to understand your treatment options. The cause of ganglion cysts is unknown and is therefore difficult to know how to prevent them. Early evaluation and treatment are recommended to help quickly restore the function of your hand to a pain-free state.

Okanagan Health Surgical Centre is a world-class private surgical facility providing Hand Surgery and Cosmetic Surgeries to patients in beautiful downtown Kelowna, British Columbia. The team of private surgeons will be sure to answer any questions you may have during a complimentary consultation. To book your consultation today call us at 1-250-868-9799  or Toll-Free: 1-877-505-8895 or fill out the contact form below.


Q: How long is the recovery from ganglion cyst hand surgery?
A: Patients can expect soreness and swelling for the first few days after the removal of the ganglion cysts. Full recovery will take approximately 2-6 weeks.

Q: Can a ganglion cyst come back?
A: There is still a possibility that a ganglion cyst may come back after surgery in a different location in the hand.

Q: Is the surgery for removing a ganglion cyst painful?
A: Your plastic surgeon will either perform the surgery under local or general anesthesia depending on the ganglion cyst. Either way, you will not feel any pain or discomfort during the removal. 

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