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Ganglion Cysts

Ganglion cysts appear as a swelling or lump in the hand caused by a non-cancerous fluid filled sac. They are most often found at the back of the wrist. However they can also be found at the base of the fingers or on the finger tip. They have the ability to disappear or change size quickly.


It is unclear as to what triggers the formation. However, theory suggests that the cysts arise from tendon sheaths, ligaments or joint linings when they are irritated or inflamed. Many do not require treatment but when pain interferes with daily life or for aesthetic reasons it can be treated by our surgeons.


  • A bump that changes size
  • Soft bump that does not move
  • Some cysts may not be accompanied by pain. Those that are, where pain is made worse by motion, a weakness in the adjacent finger may also be felt.
  • The more active the joint the greater the cyst may become but with rest there can be a decrease.


  • Your orthopaedic surgeon will:
  • Take a complete medical history
  • Perform a physical exam to determine the area of pain and identify any tenderness in the affected areas
  • Ultrasound is a reliable imaging modality that can be used to evaluate the contents of the cyst
  • A sample of the contents of the cyst may also be taken


  • Depending on the diagnosis made by the doctors a number of procedures can be undergone.
  • The fluid in the cyst may be completely drained using a needle.
  • Depending on the case the doctor may also inject an anti-inflammatory agent and the wrist placed in a splint so as to keep movement to a minimum
  • Surgical removal of the cyst will be recommended if the mass is too painful, interferes with daily function or affects movement of the hand or fingers.