A ganglion cyst is a firm fluid-filled lump that can suddenly or gradually appear in a variety of locations on the wrist or hand and sometimes even on the dorsum of the foot. The most common presentation is a lump on the back of the hand.
Ganglion cysts may also appear on the palm side of the wrist, or at the base of a finger. The cause of these cysts is unknown although they may form in the presence of joint or tendon irritation or mechanical changes.
They occur in patients of all ages. These cysts may change in size or even disappear completely, and they may or may not be painful. These cysts are not cancerous and will not spread to other areas
They can be quite painful, but sometimes even rather large cysts are completely painless. These lumps may change in size from day to day, and may even disappear spontaneously. Many patients notice that a cyst will enlarge temporarily after periods of increased activity with the wrist or hand.
The cyst feels firm like a ball, however, the cyst is actually a balloon-like structure, filled with fluid which arises from the joint or tendon sheath underneath the cyst.
It is important to have this type of lump checked by a hand speacialist to ensure it is simply a ganglion cyst. It is by far the most common hand tumor, but other tumors need to be ruled out.
Although ganglion cysts may be painful, they are usually harmless, even if untreated. They do not become cancerous, and most are located where they will not put pressure on any important nerves or blood vessels. There are exceptions to the rule and nerve impingement can be seen and should be treated.
Once the diagnosis is made there are several options for treatment including aspiration, puncture, and surgery to remove the cyst.
Call for a free hand evaluation at (310) 275-6600