A ganglion cyst (Bible cyst) can be defined as a tumor which develops on or around joints and tendons. It is filled with a thick, sticky, clear and colorless material. These cysts may be firm or spongy and significantly vary in size. There may be only one large cyst or several smaller ones. Ganglion cyst is not harmful and will never turn into malignant. It actually accounts for approximately half of all soft tissue tumors of the hand.
Ganglion cysts predominantly affect women. They basically occur in people between the age of 20 and 40. Still, they may also develop in other age groups. Ganglion cysts are considered very rare in children under the age of 10.
These cysts can form on the back of the hand, at the wrist joint and on the palm side of the wrist. Apart from these predilection places ganglion cysts also develop at the base of fingers, at fingertips, in the knee and ankle region (outside of the knee and ankle) and at the top of the foot.
Causes of Ganglion Cysts
Scientists have not identified the exact cause of ganglion cysts. According to one theory these benign lumps develop as a consequence of trauma to joints and tendons. Another theory which is more reliable is associated with a flaw in the joint capsule or tendon sheath. This flaw is the actual place where the process of cyst formation takes place.
Treatment for Ganglion Cysts
Once a ganglion cyst has formed there is a chance it will withdraw spontaneously. This actually occurs in 38-58% of all cases. There are many treatment modalities available for this type of cysts.
Aspiration is one way to remove the content of the cyst. It includes insertion of a needle inside the cyst and aspiration of the fluid. During the procedure the doctor may also inject a corticosteroid which will alleviate the inflammation. After the procedure the wrist is splinted and immobilized. The splints stay for 7 to 10 days. Some people may benefit after only one session while others require several aspiration procedures. Since this treatment modality includes only removal of the cyst's content the cyst may reoccur.
Surgical removal of the cyst is more aggressive approach but this way the cyst is removed in total and permanently and it will not reoccur at the same site. Surgical removal of ganglion cyst is indicated in patients who face excruciating pain, numbness or tingling sensations and in case the cyst interferes in normal function of the affected joint.