Ganglion cyst removal

October 5th, 2016 by LOC Team


What is a ganglion cyst?

In short, a ganglion cyst is a swelling that normally develops near a tendon or joint. This swelling is filled with a liquid called synovial fluid, this lubricates our joints and cushions them during movement. A ganglion cyst can range in size, it can be the size of a pea right up to the size of a golf ball.

A typical ganglion cyst will be a lump under the skin that’s smooth to the touch. They can occur on any part of your body, so long as it is close to a joint or tendon, however, they are most commonly found on the wrist, hand and fingers. Ganglion cysts are harmless but they can cause some pain and discomfort. It isn’t really clear why they form, however, they are likely to form when the fluid that surrounds your tendon or joint (the synovial fluid mentioned above) leaks out and collects.

The treatment and removal of a ganglion cyst

If you are not in any pain with your ganglion cyst then it is most likely that it will be left alone. It can disappear by itself without needing any treatment but this can take a number of years. In cases where removal is needed, there are two options: cutting the cyst out with surgery or draining the fluid out with a syringe and a needle, the medical word for this is aspiration.


Removing the ganglion cyst surgically is only normally needed when it is painful or it interferes with your daily life. If you are experiencing any tingling or numbness in your hand or fingers then surgery is also likely to be needed. There are two types of surgery available for ganglion cyst removal; open surgery and arthroscopic surgery.

Open surgery

The surgeon will make a 2 inch cut over the area and remove the cyst from the affected tendon or joint.

Arthroscopic surgery

This is a keyhole surgery and so a smaller incision is made and the surgeon will use a camera to aid in the location of the cyst under the skin. They will then use the incision to pass tools through and remove the cyst. This surgery typically has a quicker recovery time but a longer waiting time.


This is often the first treatment option offered to someone with a ganglion cyst and it is a painless and simple process. It can be carried out at your local hospital or your local GP surgery and a needle will be inserted into the cyst and as much of the contents that can be removed will be. It is worth noting, although the recovery time is very quick, around half of the ganglion cysts treated with aspiration return, if this happens then surgery might be necessary.

If you have a ganglion cyst that is causing you any pain or discomfort during your daily activities then make an appointment with your GP or go and see a specialist, they will be able to recommend the next step to take.

This information is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material provided on this Site is provided for information purposes only. Always seek the advice of a doctor with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, before applying any diet, exercise, other health program, or other procedure set out on this Site.

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