(973) 538-5200

111 Madison Avenue Suite #302, Morristown, NJ 07960
2333 Morris Avenue Suite B-107, Union, NJ 07083

Ganglion Cyst

Ganglion cysts are fluid filled masses, which arise off of joints or tendons of the hand and wrist. They typically arise from the back of the wrist, palm side of the wrist or in the palm near where the fingers start. They are benign or non-cancerous lesions, which tend to arise in areas of weakness in the joint or tendon, not unlike the sidewall of an old tire ballooning out.

The ganglion cyst may be asymptomatic or not cause any symptoms besides being noticeable. However, the ganglion may cause some symptoms, typically pain or a feeling of fullness. Occasionally the ganglion may compress nerves running near it.

If the ganglion is asymptomatic, no treatment may be indicated. If the ganglion is symptomatic however, there are several treatment options available. If the cyst is in a certain location (usually the back of the wrist) a trial of aspiration with a needle is reasonable. The downside of aspiration is that the recurrence rate (the chance the cyst comes back) is very high. Surgical excision done on an outpatient basis (day surgery) is the best way to avoid damage to other structures and to minimize the rate of recurrence.

After surgery, a splint is worn for wrist ganglions for 10 days. Finger ganglions do not need a splint after surgery. Either way, range of motion exercises are instituted early either at home or by a therapist. Recovery time is variable depending on the location of the ganglion. Recovery to full function is much shorter for finger ganglions then wrist ganglions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the symptoms?

The ganglion cyst may be asymptomatic or not cause any symptoms besides being noticeable. However, the ganglion may cause some symptoms, typically pain or a feeling of fullness. Occasionally the ganglion may compress nerves running near it.

What can be done?

If the ganglion is asymptomatic, no treatment may be indicated. If the ganglion is symptomatic however, there are several treatment options available. If the cyst is in a certain location (usually the back of the wrist) a trial of aspiration with a needle is reasonable. The downside of aspiration is that the recurrence rate (the chance the cyst comes back) is very high. Surgical excision done on an outpatient basis (day surgery) is the best way to avoid damage to other structures and to minimize the rate of recurrence.

After surgery, a splint is worn for wrist ganglions for 10 days. Finger ganglions do not need a splint after surgery. Either way, range of motion exercises are instituted early either at home or by a therapist. Recovery time is variable depending on the location of the ganglion. Recovery to full function is much shorter for finger ganglions then wrist ganglions.

If you think you may have one of these medical conditions, hand pain, or hand numbness, please call our office at 973‑538‑5200 to make an appointment with Dr. Miller.