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Ganglions

Ganglions

A ganglion is a collection of jellylike fluid that arises either from a joint or from the sheath of a tendon. Ganglion cysts can be painful if they press on a nearby nerve. Ganglion cysts, also known as Bible cysts, are more common in women, and 70% occur in people between the ages of 20-40. Rarely, ganglion cysts can occur in children younger than 10 years.

 Signs and symptoms of Ganglions may include

  • The ganglion cyst usually appears as a bump (mass) that changes size.
  • Ganglion cysts are oval or round in shape and typically measure 2.5 centimeters or less. Some lumps are even so small that a person cannot feel them.
  • The skin over the top of a ganglion cyst may feel smooth, round and rubbery.
  • When the cyst is connected to a tendon, you may feel a sense of weakness in the affected finger.

Ganglion cysts are more likely to develop in women and people who repeatedly stress their wrists, such as gymnasts

Preparing For Your Ganglions Surgery

Before you have your surgery, there are a few preparation tips that we recommend. Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your surgeon. It is important to follow your surgeon's pre and post-op advice as this is specific to you. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. And also tell your surgeon if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine. We may refer to a doctor who specializes in the treatment of Ganglions problems for further evaluation.

Post Operative Activities

  • Apply ice bags wrapped in a dry towel several times per day for 20 minutes for the first week and then as needed for pain relief and inflammation.
  • The local anesthetic may make areas of your hand feel numb for 8-12 hours.
  • You will have a moderate amount of pain for the first 3-4 days, this should be adequately addressed by the oral narcotic pain medication that was prescribed when you left the day surgery suite (Vicodin or Oxycodone).
  • You may use your hand for light activities such as eating, dressing, typing, etc. Try to avoid vigorously bending the wrist down (flexion) as it can disturb the area of healing.

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Frequently Asked questions


Quite often there is no obvious cause for a ganglion. However, a ganglion can arise due to degenerative change in a joint as in early arthritis or around a tendon.
A ganglion may not give rise to any symptoms whatsoever. It can, however, be unsightly and can also result in discomfort or pain. Occasionally a ganglion may burst onto the surface of the skin or get infected (this commonly happens in the distal joint of the finger or thumb).
If the ganglion is asymptomatic it may not require any treatment what so ever. Conservative management of a ganglion consists of aspiration of the jellylike fluid and an injection of a steroid solution into the ganglion sac. This may be effective in preventing long-term recurrence in approximately 30% of patients.
Just like any other operation, ganglion excision can result in problems such as bleeding, infection or delayed healing of the wound although these are uncommon. There is a scar following surgery which in rare cases can become hypertrophic or keloid (raised, red, lumpy, itchy). Keloid scars can continue to grow and can be unsightly requiring further treatment.
For 2 weeks following surgery the hand and wrist are supported in a splint. After wound inspection at 2 weeks gentle mobilisation is started under the supervision of the Hand Therapist. Most patients regain mobility 4 to 8 weeks following surgery but it takes longer to regain grip strength and to undertake heavy manual work, use of vibrating tools and heavy lifting.

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