Ganglion treatment

What is it?

A ganglion cyst is a swelling filled with jelly-like fluid that sticks out from the lining of a joint or tendon. While these lumps are usually harmless, you may want it removed if it becomes painful or limits movement.

Diagnosis and treatment options

Your consultant will examine you and ask you to demonstrate certain movements to check how well your hand and wrist is working. You might need some additional tests:

  • X-ray
  • Ultrasound
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan

Treatments for ganglions include:

Ganglion aspiration

Aspiration is a non-surgical alternative for ganglion removal. It is simple and relatively painless, and enables you to leave hospital straight after your treatment. During aspiration, your consultant will drain the fluid from the cyst using a needle and syringe. After the procedure, a plaster is placed over the small hole in your skin which can be removed six hours after the procedure.

Ganglion surgery

A ganglion is a smooth, soft lump under the skin which may need to be removed surgically if the lump is painful or other procedures have not worked. During surgery, your consultant will make an incision over the lump and remove the ganglion and its stalk.

The surgery only takes 10-30 minutes and a light bandage is applied. Often absorbable sutures are used and the wound needs to be kept dry and covered for 10 days. Most symptoms improve in the first few days and a return to near normality should occur within a few weeks.

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