Jonathan Aarons M.D.

Tired of Chronic Pain?

Ganglion Cyst of the Hand


A ganglion cyst is a fluid filled sac that can develop around the tissues of a joint.  It grows like a balloon on a stalk.  They can develop quickly, grow, and then disappear on their own.  They usually enlarge with activity and become smaller with rest.  Ganglion cyst of the hand occurs most frequently in younger people with a predilection of females over males.  The ganglion may not be painful, but may interfere with function of the hand or may become inflamed and tender.  If they occur near a nerve, they may compress the nerve and cause numbness and tingling.  X-rays are taken to exclude any bony abnormalities.  MRI scans are used to determine to origin and extent of the cyst.  Blood work is taken to look for autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.  Initial treatment of ganglion cyst of the hand is conservative and includes non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy.  If the  patient does not respond to conservative modalities then an injection into the cyst with a steroid may be useful.  If injection fails to cure the problem, they surgical removal of the cyst may be necessary.  Even after surgery, there is still a chance that the cyst may recur.

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