Ganglion Cyst Removal

An extremely common problem that people of all ages encounter is the development of a ganglion cyst. These are small, fluid-filled sacs that often grow on the wrist. They are also non-cancerous. These frequently go away on their own, but other times they may need surgery for removal. 

Ganglion Cysts 

Also known as bible cysts, these cysts can range in size and can be either painful or completely painless. These kinds of cysts develop as a result of fluid escaping from the joints, so they are most commonly found on the wrists or ankles. They can also develop as a result of injury to a joint. Some people with osteoarthritis have found that they develop cysts around their more painful joints. At times, these cysts can press on nerves, causing nerve pain or tingling in the hand. This is when the cysts are most likely to be removed by a doctor. 

Other Treatments Outside of Removal

Sometimes, a doctor will treat a ganglion cyst through draining its fluid, which is called fluid aspiration. This is done with a syringe after a numbing agent is applied to the skin. The cyst is punctured at the area closest to the skin. The doctor will use the syringe to draw out the synovial fluid. Unfortunately, this method does not usually work long-term. Most cysts come back after being drained. Some people claim that a cyst can be removed through pressure as well, but most doctors do not agree. Sometimes wearing a wrist brace can help the cyst go away as it limits movement. 

Ganglion Cyst Removal Surgery

Depending on the size and location of the ganglion cyst, the patient is placed under an anesthetic or only the area is numbed. The hand and wrist are cleaned and sterilized, then positioned so that the cyst is clearly visible. The surgeon makes an incision very carefully over the main body of the cyst, trying not to puncture it. They separate it from the surrounding tissues and locate the cyst stalk, which is where the cyst is connected to the joint. The stalk is cut as close to the joint as possible, and the cyst is removed. Then, the area where the stalk was cut is closed with dissolvable stitches. The incision is then closed with sutures and the area is bandaged. 

Recovery Time and Healing

Normally, the patient can go home immediately after the surgery has been completed. Sometimes a doctor may ask that the patient wear a brace to limit movement after the cyst has been removed. They may also recommend finger or wrist exercises depending on the location of the cyst. The patient may experience pain during recovery, which can be treated with over the counter pain medications. Shortly after the surgery, the patient will need to return to the doctor’s office to get the stitches removed. The area will most likely heal completely within a few weeks. 

Long Term Effects 

One of the main problems with ganglion cysts is that they tend to come back over and over again. Cyst removal has the lowest rate of recurrence, but it is still common for the cysts to regrow even after surgery. It is important to find a doctor that specializes in this kind of surgery, so that the rate of recurrence is hopefully lower. If a patient has a cyst that keeps recurring, the doctor can keep working with them to try to keep them pain free and give them the best possible care. Every doctor hopes that ganglion cyst removal will be effective in treating cysts that have become painful, and in most cases, that is accomplished even if the cyst regrows over time.

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