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Ganglion Cyst - Overview

Ganglion cyst may be defined as a swelling which typically occurs around the joints and tendons in the hand or foot. It predominantly affects the wrist and the fingers. Once the cyst has occurred it tends to grow. The exact cause of ganglion cyst is unknown and this is why majority of ganglion cysts are classified as idiopathic. This cyst is filled with clear fluid. In some cases it may withdraw spontaneously. If not, it is frequently removed by surgery.

Treatment Options for Ganglion Cyst

There are two approaches which are commonly applied in case of ganglion cysts. These cysts are either drained or they are surgically removed.Aspiration of Ganglion CystAspiration of ganglion cyst is performed with the assistance of a specific needle. 18 gauge or 21 gauge needles are most commonly used. The volume of the syringe that is used is 20-30 mL. The needle is inserted right into the cyst and the doctor drains the fluid by suction. After removal of the fluid the doctor may additionally inject a corticosteroid into the affected joint to prevent inflammatory reaction and accelerate the process of healing. The injection site is covered in a sterile compression dressing. Patients are due to stay in hospital for approximately half an hour after the procedure and they are then discharged. Ganglion cysts tend to re-occur after aspiration. In case of recurrence of the cyst one undergoes surgical removal of the cyst. Surgical Removal of Ganglion CystSurgical removal of ganglion cyst is indicated in case of large ganglion cysts and if there is recurrence of the cyst after it has been drained. The surgical procedure is known as ganglionectomy. It may be performed in local, regional or general anesthesia. Smokers are advised not to smoke prior or after the surgery since this may interfere in the process of healing. Excessive drinking of coffee and tea prior and after the surgery is forbidden as well.

The first thing a surgeon does is palpating of the cyst and looking for its borders. He/ she then marks the borders of the cyst which will ease the process of removal. The cyst is excised in toto, the wound is closed with sutures and it is covered in bandage. Patients are held in hospital for an hour and then discharged.

During the recovery time patients are forbidden to perform any kind of strenuous activities with the operated extremity for at least two days. In case there are symptoms and signs of infection or inflammation of the operated site one is supposed to visit the surgeon as soon as possible.

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