If you have a round lump on your hand or wrist, it could be a ganglion cyst. While typically harmless, these types of cysts can sometimes cause intense pain. The experienced team of surgeons at Arizona Center for Hand to Shoulder Surgery in Phoenix provides innovative orthopedic treatments for a wide range of conditions affecting the hands and wrists, including ganglion cysts. To learn more about ganglion cysts, call Arizona Center for Hand to Shoulder Surgery or schedule an appointment online today.
What is a ganglion cyst?
A ganglion cyst is a round or oval lump that typically forms along the joints or tendons in your hands or wrists. Their size can range anywhere from a pea to a quarter, and they’re usually filled with a thick, jelly-like fluid.
In most cases, ganglion cysts are noncancerous and painless. Depending on their location, however, they can impair your joint movement and cause intense nerve pain.
What causes a ganglion cyst?
The exact cause of ganglion cysts isn’t known, but certain factors can increase your risk, including:
- Being a woman between 20-40 years of age
- Having osteoarthritis in your joints near your fingernails
- Past joint or tendon injury
Most cysts don’t require treatment and often go away on their own. If you have pain or mobility problems because of its location, your doctor at Arizona Center for Hand to Shoulder Surgery might recommend a variety of treatments to provide relief.
How is a ganglion cyst diagnosed and treated?
Your doctor accesses your ganglion cyst through a comprehensive physical examination that includes pressing the area for discomfort or tenderness. They also determine if the lump is solid or filled with fluid.
Based on your physical exam, your doctor might recommend digital imaging tests like X-rays, MRIs, or ultrasounds to rule out underlying conditions like tumors or arthritis. To confirm their diagnosis, your doctor might extract a small amount of fluid from your cyst to look for clear, translucent, or thick material.
There are four main approaches to treating ganglion cysts:
- Observing the lump for changes
- Immobilizing the area with a brace or splint
- Needle aspiration to drain fluid from the cyst
- Surgically removing the cyst where it attaches to your joint or tendon
In addition to medical care, your doctor might suggest home therapies like over-the-counter pain relievers. It’s essential, however, that you don’t try to treat the cyst yourself or puncture it with a needle.
If you suffer from any of the symptoms of a ganglion cyst, contact Arizona Center for Hand to Shoulder Surgery for a consultation. Their caring staff will be honored to take care of you.