Wrist Ganglion Cyst

Brief Outline of Wrist Ganglion Cyst

A ganglion (Greek: knot of tissue) cyst is a bump or mass that forms under the skin. They can occur at any joint or tendon sheath, but most often on the back of the wrist or on the fingers. Ganglion cysts are probably the most common lumps that occur in the hand. Most often, ganglion cysts occur in the 25-45 year old age group, and they are more common in women than they are in men. Ganglion cysts are benign tumours (so do not spread to other body areas), and their cause is unknown. Sometimes they are also called synovial hernias or synovial cysts because of their relationship to the synovial cavities in the joint. Also known as subchondral cysts.

Ganglion Cyst Wrist

Anatomy and physiology

Ganglion cysts are thin, fibrous capsules containing a clear, mucinous fluid, and feel soft and moveable. Ganglion cysts have a smooth translucent wall, generally connected to an underlying joint capsule or ligament via a think stalk. Ganglion cysts can involve any joint in the hand or wrist, mainly occur on an aponeurosis  or tendon, and are palpable between the extensor tendons. The ganglion cyst forms when tissue around the joint becomes inflamed and swells with fluid. As this happens, the balloon-like ganglion grows in the connective tissue of the joint or even in the membrane that covers the nearby tendon. Often, cysts associated with the scapholunate ligament or scaphotrapezial joint of the wrist. Most cysts occur at the dorsal wrist, volar wrist, and volar retinacular of distal interphalangeal area.

Cause of Wrist Ganglion Cyst

Flaw in the joint capsule. Flaw in the tendon sheath. Tissue trauma.

Signs and symptoms

Swollen sac-like area, which changes size. May or may not produce pain. Wrist weakness.

Complications if left unattended

Most ganglion cyst disappear without treatment, though in some cases, they recur over time. Such cysts generally do not pose a serious health risk, even if left untreated, though pain and weakness of the wrist may persist without medical care.

Treatment

  • Needle aspiration
  • Surgically removal

Rehabilitation and prevention

Cysts may be drained of fluid by a physician. The patient should not attempt this. Often, cysts will gradually disappear without draining or surgical intervention, though they may recur. If the ganglion cyst is painful, sports involving intensive use of the wrist should be limited or avoided until shrinkage or disappearance of the cyst.

Long-term prognosis

Cysts may be asymptomatic and self-limiting. Should medical attention be required, the prognosis for full recovery is excellent.

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