Clearwater, Tampa, St Petersburg, Florida
The mostly frequently seen mass involving the wrist is a ganglion cyst. This is a fibrous mass containing a thickened mucoid fluid that is very similar to a jelly-like substance. Ganglion cysts may be found attached to a tendon, a joint capsule in the fascia, or within a ligament. Depending upon the size or location of the cyst, they may or may not be symptomatic.
Ganglion cysts are more frequently seen in women after the age of 30. It is not known what causes a ganglion cyst, but most likely their formation is related to a chronic irritation. If the cyst is large enough or adjacent to a bony structure, it may start to erode it, causing symptomatic wrist pain.
A ganglion cyst may also occur in the scapholunate ligament, and is a common source of dorsal wrist pain. Both of these conditions are difficult to diagnose with a physical examination due to the many structures in this area. Even with a careful physical examination, additional testing with MRI may be necessary. A ganglion cyst may also occur inside the bone, especially in the carpal bones most prominent in the radial aspect of the lunate, and may be a source of chronic wrist pain and may end up eroding the bone.
Treatment for a Ganglion Cyst
- Because the ganglion is not cancerous and may disappear in time, just waiting and watching may be enough to make sure that no unusual changes occur.
- Activity often causes the ganglion to increase in size, increasing pressure on nerves, and causing pain. A wrist brace or splint may relieve symptoms, letting the ganglion decrease in size. As pain decreases, your doctor may prescribe exercises to strengthen the wrist and improve range of motion.
- If the ganglion causes a great deal of pain or severely limits activities, the fluid may be drained from it. This procedure is called “aspiration.” The area around the ganglion cyst is numbed and the cyst is punctured with a needle so that the fluid drains away.
These nonsurgical treatments leave the outer shell and the stalk of the ganglion intact, so it may reform and reappear.
A ganglion cyst can be removed through outpatient surgery, but this is no guarantee that the cyst will not grow again. Surgery may also include removing part of the involved joint capsule or tendon sheath.
If you continue to suffer with a ganglion cyst and your current treatment plan leaves you feeling hopeless, perhaps a fresh set of experienced eyes can change your outlook. Since 1990, Dennis M. Lox, M.D has applied his personal interests in sports medicine, cutting-edge regenerative medicine and chronic pain management to helping patients increase their quality of life. Contact us for an appointment at 727-462-5582.
Dennis M. Lox, MD, and the Florida Spine Center serve patients within the greater Tampa Bay area, including Clearwater, Tampa and St. Petersburg, as well as all of Florida and the US.
All statements, information or opinions provided by this website are provided for educational purposes only. We do not diagnose nor treat through this website or by telephone. As you consider any treatment, discuss them with your physician.