Ganglion cysts are the most common form of lump or mass in the hand. The fluid-filled cysts occur most frequently in the back of the wrist or at the end joint or base of a finger. Most of these cysts are not painful or cancerous, but may increase in size due to escalated activity.
Causes and risk factors
- Most common in younger people between the ages of 15-40
- Women are more often affected
- Common among gymnasts or athletes in sports that apply continuous pressure to the wrist
- Cysts on the finger joint are often associated with arthritis
- Visible lump, although some cysts remain hidden under the skin
- Pain due to pressure on the joint
- Large cysts can cause concern about appearance
Diagnosis and treatment
Ganglion cysts often don’t require surgery and may disappear or reduce in size with rest and bracing. Another non-operative treatment is called aspiration, where the cyst is numbed and the fluid inside is drained with a needle. If symptoms are not relieved by these methods, an orthopedic surgeon may recommend a procedure called excision. It is an outpatient procedure that involves removing the cyst, as well as the root of the ganglion. Normal activities can typically be resumed in 2-6 weeks after surgery.