What Caused My Ganglion Cyst?

What Caused My Ganglion Cyst?

No one wants to see a lump or bump pop up out of nowhere. The good news is, if it’s a ganglion cyst, you don’t have to worry about cancer. Still, you should always get an expert diagnosis if you develop new growths on your body. 

Ganglion cysts are common on the hands and wrists. They often appear quickly, change size, and then disappear. But why? And what should you do if they cause problems?

Thomas F. Saylor, MD, of Orthopaedic Care Specialists in North Palm Beach, Florida, knows that hand and wrist pain can slow you down. He also understands that abnormal lumps and bumps in visible areas can make a person self-conscious. In this blog, Dr. Saylor discusses this common problem and some of the treatment options.

Recognizing a ganglion cyst

As mentioned above, ganglion cysts aren’t cancerous. Instead, these growths contain a jellylike fluid. They usually develop on the wrists or hands in places where there are tendons or joints. However, they can also form on the feet and ankles.

In many cases, these growths are approximately the size of a pea and nearly transparent, meaning you can shine a light through them. But, they can also change shape and grow larger, especially with increased activity in the affected area.

The exact cause of this type of cyst isn’t known, but certain things can increase your chances of getting one.

Understanding your risk factors for ganglion cysts

It’s easy to assume that a ganglion cyst is a round ball. However, they actually look like balloons. That’s because they grow from the tissue surrounding a joint and remain attached, like a flower bud on a stem. And the jellylike fluid they contain is similar to the substance that lubricates your joints.

People who have higher chances of developing these cysts are often:

It’s also more common to develop a ganglion cyst if you have a history of joint or tendon injuries.

Treating ganglion cysts

In many cases, ganglion cysts don’t require treatment. But, it’s still important to have an expert diagnose your condition to ensure it’s not another issue, such as arthritis or cancer.

However, some ganglion cysts can become painful, because they can press on nearby structures, such as nerves. If this occurs, you can also experience tingling, numbness, or muscle weakness. Fortunately, there are several options that can address this common problem, even if you just want treatment because you don’t like how the cyst looks.

After reaching a diagnosis, Dr. Saylor could suggest any of the following approaches. 

Reduced activity

The easiest route involves reducing movement in the affected area, which can help a cyst shrink. 

Depending on the part of your hand or wrist with the ganglion cyst, Dr. Saylor might also recommend using a splint or brace to limit actions that can cause the mass to grow.

Draining

As you might suspect, this treatment involves removing fluid from the cyst with a needle. 

Draining can reduce the size of the cyst and ease symptoms, but the growth could come back.

Surgery

Finally, if your ganglion cyst doesn’t respond to conservative treatments, Dr. Saylor can use minimally invasive surgical approaches to remove the entire growth, including the stalk. You can go home the same day as your procedure and resume regular activity within 2-6 weeks, depending on your situation.

While you may not be able to avoid getting ganglion cysts, you don’t have to live with them. To learn more, call 561-260-5993 to request an appointment with Orthopaedic Care Specialists today.

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