Weight Loss with Increased Fullness.
Welcome ActiLean Visitor to Health Education on the Internet

Ganglion Cyst


 What is a ganglion cyst?
 What is the cause?
 What are the symptoms?
 How is it diagnosed?
 How is it treated?
 How can I take care of myself?
 How can I help prevent ganglion cysts?

Ganglion Cyst: Illustration
Ganglion Cyst: IllustrationClick here to view a full size picture.

What is a ganglion cyst?

A ganglion cyst is a swollen, closed sac under the skin. The sac is attached to the sheath of a tendon or may be attached to a joint. The cyst contains fluid similar to the fluid that is in your joints. It can vary in size from a small pea to a golf ball. Ganglion cysts most often occur on the wrist, at the end joint of a finger, or at the base of a finger. They may also occur on the foot.

What is the cause?

The cause of ganglion cysts is not known.

What are the symptoms?

You may feel discomfort or pain. Sometimes the area of the cyst becomes swollen or disfigured.

How is it diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will examine you. If there is any question about the diagnosis, your healthcare provider may stick a needle into the cyst to take a sample of the fluid inside it. The fluid can be tested for other problems, such as infection.

How is it treated?

Sometimes cysts eventually go away whether they are treated or not. Unless a cyst hurts, it does not need to be treated.

If the cyst is painful, to help relieve pain:

Your healthcare provider may inject steroid medicine into the cyst to reduce swelling.

Your healthcare provider could remove fluid from the cyst with a needle or syringe, but the cyst might fill up with fluid again.

If a ganglion cyst is painful, interferes with your activities, or is unsightly, it can be surgically removed. Surgery to remove the cyst requires making a small cut through the skin. The cut usually heals quickly and leaves a small scar. However, even with surgical treatment, a cyst may come back.

How can I take care of myself?

Follow your healthcare provider's instructions. Ask your provider:

Make sure you know when you should come back for a checkup.

How can I help prevent ganglion cysts?

Doctors don’t know how to prevent these cysts because they don’t know what causes them.

healthinformatics info

Reference Sources:

DeLee, Jesse C., David Drez, and Mark D. Miller, Orthopaedic Sports Medicine: Principles and Practice, Saunders; 3rd ed. 2009.

Frontera, Walter R., Julie K. Silver, and Thomas D. Rizzo, Jr. Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Saunders, 2nd. Ed. 2008.

Teh J, and G. Whiteley. MRI of soft tissue masses of the hand and wrist. British Journal of Radiology 207. 80(949): 47-63.


divider line

Last Modified: 2013-01-28

Last Reviewed: 2012-09-17

Website Updated: March 2014

Developed by RelayHealth.
Published by RelayHealth. © 2014 RelayHealth and/or one of its affiliates. All Rights Reserved.

This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.


divider line

Return to:

A button for the link to the top level index page for this topic area.

A button for the link to the top level home page.

Legal Notice: Use of these Health Education Materials signifies your agreement to the enclosed ("linked") terms. If you do not agree to all of these terms and conditions of use, do not use this site.

COPYRIGHT © 1996-2010 and patented technologies ((U.S. patents 6,374,274, 6,839,881, and pending patents) ) HEALTH INFORMATICS INTERNATIONAL, INC.
All Rights Reserved.