Ganglion Cyst: What It Is And How Treat It

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Ganglion cysts are lumps filled with fluid. These are not tumors and are noncancerous. They generally appear on the wrist or hands and sometimes along tendons or joints. A ganglion cyst can appear within a short period or develop gradually. Presently, doctors’ are uncertain as to the exact cause. In most cases, it does not present as a medical emergency. In fact, having a cyst may not require treatment at all if you are not experiencing any pain. Often times, they are self-resolving and go away on their own. The times when medical intervention would be warranted is when you are experiencing pain and mobility issues in your joints as a result of the cyst. Some people may choose medical help to remove the cyst for cosmetic reasons. This is accomplished by surgically removing the ganglion or by extracting the fluid from the cyst.

Common symptoms include a lump that is round, smooth and firm, around your wrist or the joints of the fingers. This lump may appear fixed in position although it may have some movement when you push against it. Generally, it measures approximately one half inch to slightly more than one inch. The size of the cyst can also be dependent on your normal daily activities. For instance, using the affected joints more will result in more fluid retention. Although the cyst itself may not produce pain, the fluid inside can put pressure on the surrounding soft tissue and nerve fibers. This can result in weakness, tingling, numbness or pain-like sensation.

Your doctor may perform test and lab work to help diagnose your symptoms. These measures can include an examination, x ray, aspiration, ultrasound and MRI. Most cysts do not require treatment; however, if the cyst is causing pain or affecting normal joint mobility, your doctor may suggest some treatment such as immobilization of the joint, aspiration of the fluid or possibly surgery to remove the ganglion cyst.

You can also take measures to prevent discomfort around the affected areas by reducing any repetitive movement in your hands and feet. Also, limit activities that exacerbate the pain and symptoms.