A ganglion cyst is a lump under the skin containing synovial fluid. Ganglion cysts are most commonly seen on the back of the wrist and can be painful if they occur near a nerve.
However if your cyst causes you minimal discomfort it is best to leave it alone. Many will disappear on their own.
The fluid in your ganglion cyst can be taken out using a needle (aspiration). Your surgeon will perform aspiration under local anaesthetic. They may inject the area with a steroid to prevent the ganglion from returning.
Non surgical treatments may bring temporary relief, however there is a chance the ganglion will return. In this case you surgeon may recommend surgery.
What happens during ganglion cyst surgery?
The type of anaesthetic used will depend on where your ganglion cyst is located. Be sure and discuss the options with your surgeon.
Your surgeon may perform open surgery or use arthroscopic (key hole) techniques to remove the cyst.
During open surgery your surgeon will make one incision (cut) in the area over the cyst. They will separate the cyst from any joint or tendon and remove it. The incision will be closed using stitches or staples.
During arthroscopic surgery several small incisions are made. A tiny camera is inserted in one incision to allow your surgeon to view the area around the joint. Using the camera as a guide they will pass other instruments through the incisions to remove the cyst.
The area will be bandaged. Once the anaesthesia has worn off you may have some discomfort. You will be given pain killers.
Going home after ganglion cyst removal
Ganglion cyst removal is a minor procedure. You should be able to go home very soon after your operation. You may experience some bruising or stiffness but these symptoms should fade in time.
Some scarring will occur. Initially your scar may appear very red and raised. Over time your scar should fade.
If you are at all concerned about any symptoms that appear after your operation please call our Healthcare Team.
Most people make a good recovery and return to normal activities following ganglion cyst removal. As with any surgery there can be complications:
- Infection in the surgical site (incision) or joint
Specific complications of ganglion cyst removal:
- Damage to an artery
- Damage to small nerves near the cyst
- Continued aching in the area
- The ganglion cyst returns.