This factsheet is for people who are considering having surgery to remove a ganglion. Ganglions are swellings that stick out from the lining of a joint or tendon.
Your care will be adapted to meet your individual needs and may differ from what is described here. So it’s important that you follow your surgeon’s advice.
About ganglion cysts
Ganglion cysts are fluid-filled sacs. They can occur at any joint in your body, but are most common around the wrist. Ganglion cysts may also appear on the feet.
Ganglion cysts form when the natural lubricating fluid leaks out of a joint or tendon, making a little sac (or cyst).
Symptoms of ganglion cysts
The main symptom of a ganglion cyst is a swelling in the area affected. They tend to be smooth and round and can vary in size. Some can be large and prominent, while others are so small that you can’t feel or see them. Sometimes they shrink or grow, and may even disappear altogether, only to reappear at a later date.
If a ganglion cyst puts pressure on a nerve, you may experience discomfort or altered movement.
Causes of ganglion cysts
It’s not usually known what causes the fluid to leak out of your joint or tendon, leading to the development of a ganglion cyst.
However, women are more likely to get ganglion cysts than men, and you are most likely to get them in your 20s to 40s. Sometimes, ganglion cysts form after an injury or after placing too much stress on a joint or tendon (for example, following repeated stress on the wrist in gymnasts). However, most people have not had an injury and the cause is unknown.
Diagnosis of ganglion cysts
Our doctor can usually make a diagnosis just by feeling and looking at the lump, and asking questions about your symptoms.