I have a ganglion cyst: what are my options?

A ganglion cyst is a swelling filled with synovial fluid that has formed near a joint or tendon, most commonly on the wrist, hand and fingers. Ganglions are generally harmless but they can be painful, depending on their location; whether it is the size of a golf ball or merely that of a pea, if it is sitting next to a nerve, it can be the cause of some discomfort. If it is getting in the way of daily activities or is causing severe pain, you should be able to have NHS funded treatment, but this does not extend to all cases of ganglion cysts. In the past, one traditional remedy involved hitting the ganglion with a heavy object, with the intention of breaking the cyst open in order to release the fluid. This is not recommended and there are, happily, other options open to you these days.

Your hand surgery consultation

During your consultation at his Milton Keynes hand surgery clinic, plastic surgeon Mr Sudip Ghosh will take your full medical history and conduct a physical examination before talking you through your options. Rather than having surgery, you may wish to have the fluid drained from the cyst using a needle and syringe. This procedure (aspiration) is performed using a local anaesthetic and is painless and quick; the downside is that around half of ganglion cysts treated this way do return. Surgical removal may be more appropriate. This can be done either through open or keyhole surgery, and under local or general anaesthetic, depending on where the cyst is sited.

Could I do nothing?

If your ganglion cyst is not impeding any movement or causing you discomfort then you can leave it untreated. Some cysts do disappear of their own accord, although this does take many years. Milton Keynes surgeon Mr Ghosh has many years’ experience of performing hand surgery and will be pleased to discuss the pros and cons of each option with you.

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