Ganglion Cysts and Tumors

Ganglion cysts are the most common masses seen in the hand and wrist. They usually appear on the back of the wrist, but can also occur on the palm side or at the base of the fingers. They arise from the tissue which lines the joints or tendons and fill with fluid. They can increase in size during periods of irritation and often resolve spontaneously. Ganglion cysts are benign and are not cancerous.

When the cyst is small and painless it does not have to be treated. If the cyst enlarges rapidly, becomes painful or interferes with use of the hand, treatment can be instituted. This includes rest, splinting and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication. Aspiration and cortisone injection may be beneficial, depending on the location. If these treatments fail, surgical excision can be performed. At surgery, the cyst is identified and removed with its stalk.

At Central Jersey Hand Surgery, this procedure is performed under regional anesthesia and usually takes about 30 minutes. This is done as same day surgery with a soft dressing or splint applied to the hand and wrist. The fingers can be moved immediately.

Related Information

carpal tunnel syndrome Giant cell tumor, a very common benign tumor, especially in fingers.

carpal tunnel syndrome Intra-op photo of a glomus tumor, a more unusual benign tumor which causes excruciating pain, is usually diagnosed quickly by an experience hand surgeon, and is often unknown to primary physicians.

carpal tunnel syndrome Intra-op photo of resection of a lipoma, a very common benign tumor of fatty tissue.

carpal tunnel syndrome Photo shows a mucous cyst, a fluid filled benign lesion attached to the adjacent joint which is caused by arthritis.  These can cause bone infections when they erode through the skin and rupture, so removal is recommended when they appear to be putting pressure on the skin.

carpal tunnel syndrome Example of an inclusion or tricholemmal cyst, another common benign hand tumor, which is almost always associated with an old nick or cut in the skin.

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