A ganglion cyst is a noncancerous lump that looks like a little balloon or bubble is underneath the skin. Ganglion cysts are filled with a jelly-like fluid, and they are most common near the tendons or joints of the hand, wrist, foot, or ankle.
Ganglion cysts come in all sizes, ranging from the size of a pea to a few centimeters in diameter. Let’s look at some of the symptoms and treatments that are available for a ganglion cyst.
Are Ganglion Cysts Harmless?
Ganglion cysts are usually harmless, and they usually go away on their own. However, the cyst may require treatment if it causes a problem, such as the following:
While ganglion cysts themselves are painless, they can put pressure on a nearby nerve – which can be painful. If you have a ganglion cyst near a nerve and this is causing pain, your doctor may recommend treating it.
If a ganglion cyst is pressing against a nerve, it can cause numbness, tingling, and even weakness in nearby muscles.
Lack of Mobility
Ganglion cysts can cause patients to lose complete mobility of their hand or wrist, depending on the size of the cyst and/or the severity of the pain. In these cases, doctors will likely recommend treating the cyst so you can regain mobility and experience less pain.
How to Treat a Ganglion Cyst
If you would like to seek treatment for a ganglion cyst, there are several options. Here are some of the most common ways of treating ganglion cysts that you should discuss with a doctor:
Brace or Splint
Immobilizing the ganglion cyst can help make it smaller. Depending on where the cyst is located, you can use a brace or splint to immobilize the area so the cyst can gradually decrease in size.
While the ganglion cyst disappears on its own, you can take over-the-counter painkillers to deal with any pain or discomfort you may be feeling because of it.
Also called aspiration, draining the cyst can reduce its size so it takes the pressure off the local nerves. This is done by your doctor using a needle to draw out the cystic fluid.
If draining the ganglion cyst is not enough, and the cysts recur repeatedly, the doctor may recommend that you have surgery to remove the cyst completely. This surgery is best done by a hand surgeon who knows how to avoid damaging the nearby nerves and muscles.
When to See a Doctor
Ganglion cysts are not the only lumps that can appear on your body. In order to get the correct diagnosis and treatment (if necessary), see a doctor immediately if you notice any lumps. This will save you from complications and issues down the road.
Hand Surgeons in Maryland
If you have a ganglion cyst or another issue in your hand, arm, or shoulder, our medical team at Greater Chesapeake Hand to Shoulder would be happy to help you get better.
Committed to providing excellent patient care, our board-certified orthopedic surgeons and plastic surgeons can diagnose and treat your condition with a variety of treatment technologies.
Call us at (410) 296-6232 today to make an appointment, or complete our simple online appointment request form now. We look forward to helping you get back to normalcy once again – so you can continue to thrive.