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Ganglion Cyst (Hand or Wrist Lump/Bump)

A lump or bump on your hand or wrist could be a ganglion cyst, a common type of benign growth that forms along tendons or joints, most often at the top or bottom of the wrist joint. Our New York City and Long Island Hand Specialists are highly experienced in diagnosing and treating ganglion cysts, including surgery for ganglion cyst removal if needed.

What is a Ganglion Cyst?

Ganglion cysts are non-cancerous bumps that are filled with jelly-like fluid and they can range in size from small as a pea to as large as a golf ball. They usually develop at a joint and cause the tissue that surrounds the joint to bulge out of place. Ganglion cysts have been nicknamed “bible bumps” or “bible cysts” because in the days before medical treatment was widely available, people would sometimes attempt to treat them by hitting them with a heavy book. Fortunately, we now have more advanced treatment options for ganglion cysts.

Signs and Symptoms of a Ganglion Cyst

Ganglion cysts are often slow growing and can fluctuate in size, growing larger with activity and smaller with rest. They often occur on the wrist, but may also grow on fingers, elbows, or feet. A small ganglion cyst does not usually cause any pain, but a larger bump May cause tenderness or discomfort. If a ganglion cyst grows in a way that interferes with a nerve it can cause pain, numbness, or tingling.

Ganglion Cyst Causes

The exact cause of a ganglion cyst is unknown, but they may be the result of repetitive stress on the joint or minor ligament injuries over time. Ganglion cysts are most common among women from 15 to 40 years of age and they often affect gymnasts.

Ganglion Cyst Treatments

If you have any type of growth or bump, it is important to schedule a consultation with a doctor to evaluate it. During your appointment at The Institute for Hand Surgery at Long Island Plastic Surgical Group, one of our hand and nerve experts will assess your bump to determine if it is a ganglion cyst. They may shine a light on it to determine if it is filled with fluid and additional tests such as x-rays or an MRI may be used to confirm a ganglion cyst diagnosis.

Ganglion cysts may resolve on their own, so if your bump is not causing pain the initial treatment plan may be to monitor it and wait. If you are experiencing discomfort, non-surgical treatment options include bracing the hand to restrict movement or using a syringe to drain fluid from the cyst. If your ganglion cyst is resistant to other treatments or is impinging on a nerve, surgery to remove it may be necessary. Contact us to learn more about personalized treatment options or to schedule an appointment.

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