Skip to content

Information and Resources

Font Size
A
A
A

Ganglion Cyst

When to Seek Medical Care

Whether you have symptoms or not, your ganglion cyst can benefit from medical evaluation. Your doctor can be sure that you have a ganglion cyst, keep you from worrying, and help decide on the best treatment plan for you.

A ganglion cyst does not need to have emergency treatment unless you have significant trauma. A routine check by either your doctor or a specialist in bones and joints (an orthopedist) is often enough.

Exams and Tests

A physical exam is often all that is needed to diagnose a ganglion cyst.

  • Your doctor may get further confirmation by using a syringe to draw out some of the fluid in the cyst (needle aspiration) or by using ultrasound. An ultrasound picture is made as sound waves bounce off of different tissues. It can determine whether the bump is fluid-filled (cystic) or if it is solid. Ultrasound can also detect whether there is an artery or blood vessel causing the lump.
  • Your doctor may send you to a hand surgeon if the bump is large or solid or involves a blood vessel (artery).
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is used to see the wrist and is very useful for ganglions. One drawback to this diagnostic method is the cost of the procedure.

 

Ganglion Cyst Treatment: Self-Care at Home

In the past, home care has included topical plaster, heat, and various poultices. It even extended to use of a heavy book to physically smash the cyst. (Sometimes this is called "Bible therapy.") These forms of treatment are no longer suggested, however, because they have not been shown to keep the ganglion cysts from returning and could, in fact, cause further injury.

Medical Treatment

Many cysts can disappear without any treatment at all.

Various treatments have been proposed over the years. Some include no specific treatment other than reducing worry regarding the cyst, using a needle to remove the cyst's contents (aspiration), or surgery.

  • Aspiration usually includes placing a needle into the cyst, drawing the liquid material out, injecting a steroid compound (anti-inflammatory), and then splinting the wrist to keep it from moving.
  • If you have the fluid drawn out of ganglia on the wrist 3 separate times, your possibility of being cured is between 30% and 50%. The rate of success is higher with ganglion cysts on the hand's flexor tendon sheath.
  • If you compare aspiration/injection and surgical removal, in general, cysts return less often after surgery.

Hot Topics

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

bloodstream
Tips to help prevent clots.
checking blood sugar
Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.
acupuncture needle on shoulder
Live and thrive.
gloved hand holding syringe
10 preventable diseases.
lone star tick
How to identify that bite.
man eating meal
Folates, green tea and more.
brain scan with soda
Tips to avoid complications.
disciplining a boy
Types, symptoms, causes.
Woman with stressed, fatigue
Get relief tips.
restroom sign
Food and drinks that make you go.
two male hands
Understanding RA.

Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

It's nothing to sneeze at.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.