Bone and Joint Blog

Ganglion Cysts: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

Posted Jun 6, 2022 2:57:59 PM

Ganglion cysts are small, fluid-filled lumps or masses that appear primarily on the back of the hand, fingers or wrist. They are non-cancerous and, in most cases, harmless. However, if ganglion cysts are causing pain, discomfort or interfering with daily function, there are several treatment options available.

What Causes Ganglion Cysts?

The exact cause of ganglion cysts is not known. However, we do know that they develop from a weak spot in the joint capsule. Data shows they are more common in women, with 70 percent of cases occurring in people between the ages of 15 - 40. It is rare that ganglion cysts will occur in children younger than 10 years.

What Are the Symptoms of Ganglion Cysts?

Ganglion cysts typically produce no symptoms other than the appearance of the cysts themselves. However, in some cases, if a particular cyst happens to put pressure on a nerve near a joint, it can lead to pain, tingling and muscle weakness .

Symptoms of ganglion cysts include:

  • Fluid-filled lumps or masses that can quickly appear, disappear and change size.
  • Swelling that appears either over time or suddenly.
  • One large cyst or several smaller ones are possible. They are usually connected by deeper tissue.
  • Some degree of pain or discomfort that may be chronic and gets worse with joint movement.

What Treatments Are Available for Ganglion Cysts?

If you are experiencing ganglion cysts, your doctor may recommend one of the following treatment options depending on your level of pain and discomfort:

  • Observation – if your cysts aren’t causing pain or other symptoms, your doctor may recommend simply watching to make sure no unusual changes occur. This is a safe route for treatment because ganglion cysts are non-cancerous and may go away on their own.
  • Immobilization – if you are experiencing pain due to the growing size of your cysts, your doctor may recommend a wrist brace or splint. This option can help them decrease in size and improve mobility of the wrist and other joints over time.
  • Aspiration – in this procedure, a needle is placed inside the cyst to draw the liquid out. This method sometimes fails to eliminate the cyst permanently, however, because the cysts’s connection to the joint or tendon itself is not removed. Like a weed, ganglion cysts often grow back unless removed from the root.
  • Surgery – if your painful cysts don’t improve from non-surgical treatments or return after an aspiration, your doctor may recommend surgery. With this procedure, your doctor will remove the cyst itself as well as the area around it that connects it to the joint.

Ganglion Cyst Help in Baton Rouge

In any instance of pain or injury to the hand, it is important to seek medical attention. If you are experiencing the symptoms of ganglion cysts, contact Bone and Joint Clinic of Baton Rouge to learn how our team of specialists can help.