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Cysts, Mucous Cysts

Cysts, Mucous Cysts

A mucous cyst, also known as a mucocele, is a fluid-filled swelling that occurs on the lip or the mouth. Mucous cysts are small, fluid-filled sacs that tend to develop in the mouth or on the fingers and toes. They are not harmful, but they can be uncomfortable. A cyst is a sac-like pocket of membranous tissue that contains fluid, air, or other substances. Cysts can grow almost anywhere in your body or under your skin.

 Signs and symptoms of Cysts, Mucous Cysts may include

  • Mucous cysts are generally not associated with any symptoms other than the presence of the cyst itself. They can be uncomfortable, but, usually, they do not cause any pain.
  • Mucous cysts are thin sacs that contain clear fluid. They are usually smooth or shiny in appearance and bluish-pink in color. The cysts can vary in size but are typically around 5-8 millimeters wide.
  • Large, oral cysts may interfere with chewing or talking. It is also possible for a cyst to burst. This will cause the fluid to leak out, and it can become an infection risk.

Poor dental hygiene and a habit of lip or cheek biting due to stress can also put you at higher risk for developing mucous cysts. Some people develop these cysts as a bad reaction to tartar-control toothpaste.

Preparing For Your Cysts, Mucous Cysts Surgery

Before you have your surgery, there are a few preparation tips that we recommend. It is important to follow your surgeon's pre and post-op advice as this is specific to you. We may refer to a doctor who specializes in the treatment of Preparing For Your Cysts, Mucous Cysts Surgery problems (rheumatologist) for further evaluation.

Post Operative Activities

  • Please keep your hand elevated as much and as often as possible for 1-2 days after surgery. This helps reduce swelling, and your hand may throb and feel worse if it is hanging down.
  • Please keep your surgical bandage on and clean and dry until your post - operative appointment.
  • You may shower/bath, but keep the bandage dry. You can use a plastic bag taped up at the end, saran wrap or press-n-seal
  • While ice is generally very good for pain and swelling for the first 48 hours after any injury or surgery.

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Frequently Asked questions


A mucous cyst is a collection of jellylike substance, which usually arises from the distal joint of a finger or toe and collects underneath the skin as a translucent swelling.
In many cases mucous cysts can arise without an obvious underlying cause. However, there can be an association with early arthritis of the underlying distal joint of the finger or toe. It is not uncommon in this situation to see a tiny bone spicule on an x-ray.
Some mucous cysts maybe asymptomatic especially in the early stages. They can be painful and occasionally can get inflamed or infected and discharge onto the surface. A particular symptom that results from a mucous cyst is a change in the shape of the nail or a groove in the nail (nail dystrophy). This results from pressure of the mucous cyst on the proximal part of the nail bed where the new nail is generated.
The treatment for a symptomatic mucous cyst is usually excision with advancement of a piece of skin from the more proximal part of the finger to close the opening in the skin which results from removal of the cyst.
Just like any other operation, removal of a mucous cyst can result in problems such as bleeding, infection and breakdown of the wound. Very occasionally the scar can be tender, there may be a recurrence of the cyst, the nail deformity resulting from the mucous cyst may not resolve completely and sensation in the finger beyond the area of the surgery may be slightly altered.
Following surgery there is a dressing on the finger along with a splint to rest the finger. Stitches are removed a week after surgery and gentle movement is encouraged. Most patients regain movement in the finger between two and six weeks following the operation.

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