Ganglion Cyst Treatment
A ganglion cyst is a small growth on the soft tissues in and around your wrist joints. Though non-cancerous, this type of growth can cause discomfort, particularly if it presses down on a nearby nerve. Following a thorough diagnosis, either through a physical exam or MRI/CT scan, Gregg A. Vagner, M.D., will determine the most appropriate ganglion cyst treatment at his Austin, TX, practice. He uses conservative methods, and will recommend surgery only if noninvasive methods fail. In fact, in many cases, a ganglion cyst will go away on its own. Nonetheless, if you do need surgery, he will operate very carefully, resulting in negligible scarring and a short recovery time. Dr. Vagner can treat this condition in patients of all ages, including young children.
What Is a Ganglion Cyst?
A ganglion cyst is a sac, typically found on the joint at the back of the hand. Less commonly, this type of cyst can appear on the underside of your wrist, on your palm just underneath your fingers, or on your fingertips just below your cuticles. Filled with thick joint fluid, ganglion cysts are typically small. Many are pea-sized, but they can grow up to an inch in diameter. Sometimes, ganglion cysts are so small that they cannot be seen by the naked eye. You may develop more than one cyst, but they are typically connected by a single stalk growing out of the soft tissues.
Whenever you develop unusual growths, it is vital that your doctor rules out cancer. Therefore, Dr. Vagner will often take an MRI or CT scan to provide a more certain diagnosis.
No one knows the exact cause of ganglion cysts. Some scientists speculate that this type of growth arises when the soft tissues break down due to an injury or overuse. A greater number of experts posit that cysts appear when a congenital defect causes the soft tissues to bulge. What is certain is that women are more likely to develop ganglion cysts, and the vast majority affect patients between the ages of 20 and 40.
Symptoms of a Ganglion Cyst
The most obvious symptom of a ganglion cyst is a visible lump on the outside of your wrist or finger. The lump will be soft, but it will not move. It can vary in size and may even become smaller over time. Sometimes, a ganglion cyst will cause discomfort, particularly if it compresses a nearby nerve. Typically, pain will become worse when you move your wrist. Alternatively, you could experience finger weakness if the cyst is located on a tendon. However, in over a third of all cases, the visible growth is the only symptom.
Ganglion Cyst Treatment Options
To diagnose a ganglion cyst, your doctor will conduct a thorough physical exam. Typically, he will press down on the sac. He may also determine whether it is filled with gel by shining a light through it. Whenever you develop unusual growths, it is vital that your doctor rules out cancer. Therefore, Dr. Vagner will often take an MRI or CT scan to provide a more certain diagnosis.
Once he has diagnosed a ganglion cyst, Dr. Vagner will recommend appropriate treatment. If you are not experiencing any discomfort, he may leave the cyst alone, and it will often go away over time. Cysts can sometimes grow larger with movement. Therefore, he may place a brace or splint over the area, which will give the soft tissues a chance to rest. Immobilization is a very short-term solution, however. If you are experiencing discomfort, and you do not experience quick relief, Dr. Vagner may perform an aspiration. During this procedure, he will quickly drain the cyst. Cysts often reappear after aspiration, so you may benefit from surgery. The doctor will manually remove the growth, as well as the underlying soft tissue that contains the root. This excision procedure has a very high success rate.
Contact Our Office
If you have noticed an unusual lump on your wrist or fingertip, it could be a ganglion cyst. Contact Dr. Vagner’s office today to book an appointment.
"I am committed to using experience, along with the latest techniques and technologies, to help my patients achieve the full function, mobility, and comfort in their hand, wrist, and arm that they experienced prior to their injury."Dr. Gregg Vagner