As we age, we certainly put our hands through their paces. Sometimes, our hands will develop a condition known as a Ganglion Cyst. What is a Ganglion Cyst? Most patients know they have them because a lump (or several) will begin to form along the joints, tendons, or wrists of the hand. Of course, it will take a medical professional to diagnose these lumps as Ganglion Cysts and not as, for example, a tumor or some other development. For this reason, if you notice lumps on your hand, it is a good idea to consult with a medical professional as soon as possible.
Ganglion Cysts themselves are generally benign. However, they can be unsightly and they can lead to discomfort of the joints should they reach a certain size. For this reason, many patients choose to address their Ganglion Cysts by seeing a hand specialist. Dr. Polsen and his staff at Clear Lake Hand Center have a great deal of experience treating Houston area Ganglion Cyst patients and achieving favorable results. The treatment for Ganglion Cysts, in most cases, is a relatively quick surgical procedure. This surgical procedure is generally performed on an outpatient basis.
Ganglion Cyst Removal
What are the Symptoms of Ganglion Cysts?
While some hand ailments may be difficult to spot or may largely be hidden, that is not the case with Ganglion Cysts. It’s true that some cysts may begin small, but they will usually grow and be easy to spot. That said, sometimes cysts can be too small to see, and in these cases, they are usually only treated if they cause pain by pressing on a nerve. If you notice lumps on your hand, Ganglion Cysts usually present the following qualities:
- Most Ganglion Cysts will develop around the joints or tendons of your hand
- Ganglion Cysts are not always a static size; some can increase or decrease in size depending on how often you use the joint
- Most Ganglion Cysts are oval in shape
- In most cases, Ganglion Cysts do not grow to be larger than a diameter of an inch
What Causes Ganglion Cysts?
The causes of Ganglion Cysts are generally difficult to pinpoint, especially when discussing the condition broadly. However, there are two generally accepted explanations for where Ganglion Cysts may come from:
- A trauma to the hand causes the joint to begin breaking down. Once that occurs, tissue forms into small cysts before coalescing into a larger (and much more noticeable) mass.
- The sheaths and capsules around ligaments and tendons begin to break down (which may also be caused by trauma). As this breakdown occurs, the tissues involved begin to bulge out, creating the appearance of the cyst.
While researchers are still not clear on the cause of a Ganglion cyst, treatment options are well established. For most patients, a Ganglion Cyst will simply go away on its own–perhaps as the body heals the initial trauma.
But that’s not the case for every patient. If you want to discuss what might be causing your Ganglion cyst, contact Clear Lake Hand Center to schedule a consultation with Dr. Charles Polsen. We’ll be able to discuss what might be causing your cyst and the best way to approach treatments or therapies.
Will a Ganglion Cyst Go Away on Its Own?
When patients first see a Ganglion Cyst, they often want to know if this unsightly issue will go away on its own. In most cases, a Ganglion Cyst will recede on its own. How long this will take varies significantly. Patients who seek treatment tend to be those who:
- Want to ensure the Ganglion Cyst will be mitigated in a timely manner.
- Have waited for the Ganglion Cyst to disappear on its own without success.
If your Ganglion Cyst is not going away on its own or you’re simply tired of waiting for that to happen, it might be time to contact a hand surgeon to discuss treatments. Alternatively, patients can begin by speaking to their general practitioners and receiving a referral to a hand surgeon.
A Ganglion Cyst can go away on its own, but it does not always do so. The answer to this question, then, will vary significantly from patient to patient and even from cyst to cyst.
How are Ganglion Cysts Treated?
In most cases, Ganglion Cysts are treated with a minor surgical procedure. The cysts themselves are generally small growth of fluid that is generally used by your body to lubricate joints. While it’s not known precisely what causes these growths to develop, there are treatments that will mitigate any discomfort that results in the symptoms of Ganglion Cysts. In fact, in some cases, doctors will recommend that no treatment be undertaken immediately, especially if the cyst is not causing any pain or discomfort.
However, in cases where pain and discomfort is present, or if the patient strongly desires the removal of the Ganglion Cyst, surgery will then be performed. Sometimes this will simply mean aspiration (or using a needle to drain the fluid). Other times, surgery will involve removing the cyst and the “stalk” that connects it to the joint or tendon.
A consultation can help determine if the cyst should be excised and would be necessary to fully accurately diagnose the condition. One cannot assume that a mass or cyst is a benign entity and does not require any treatment, as often a pathologic determination is necessary to rule out a tumor.
If you have questions about lumps developing on your hand, contact Dr. Polsen at Clear Lake Hand Center to schedule a consultation.