What is a Ganglion cyst?
A ganglion cyst is a cyst on the wrist. It is a collection of fluid from a joint capsule or tendon covering. Ganglion cysts are usually on the back of the wrist but may be on the front. They should not affect the color of the skin or ooze out pus.
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Quickcare or ER?
Ganglion cysts should be seen in the clinic
If there is no injury or infection, then this can easily be seen in a clinic.
The off and on pain and appearance are the biggest concern. Usually if someone shows up in the ER, it was out fear that this is acancer. It is not a cancer.
Red Flags would include
- severe pain
If there is no severe pain or redness, then make an appointment at your local clinic.
What has been your experience? Did you wait in the ER for a few hours just to be told that it was nothing?
What will your doctor ask?
- Your doctor will want to know your symptoms. Remember, a symptom is your description of your condition to your doctor. It is your story.
- How long have you had it?
- Does it come an go or does it stay there?
- Is it getting worse?
- Is it red over the skin?
- Did you have a injury prior to the cyst’s appearance?
What will you doctor look for?
Your doctor will look for signs. A sign is an objective finding that a doctor discovers during the examination.
But a doctor is still going to want to touch it.
A few key points:
1. Redness (erythema) of the skin suggests an infection.
Range of motion
The wrist should have a full range of motion which suggests that the bones and ligaments are ok
What is your doctor thinking?
The differential diagnosis includes a broken bone or an infection. Their appearance may come and go. They should not decrease the range of motion of the wrist
What is the treatment of Ganglion Cysts?
Many people leave them alone. One trucker once told me,”I don’t bother it and it don’t bother me”
I am often asked how to get rid of a cyst. Ganglion cyst treatment includes anti-inflammatories such as Advil or Motrin or Naproxen.
Some ask if I can simply pop the cyst. I have never done nor do I advocate cyst popping
Usually I will refer my patients to a Hand Surgeon for ganglion cyst removal.
How long will you be sick with Ganglion Cyst?
If it is not removed, it could be permanent? It will wax and wane but never quite go away.
If the surgery is done, then the recovery will typically be a few weeks. Sutures need to come out. Need to watch for infection.
Let me tell you a story
“Doctor I am sick of this. I know there are starving people in Asia and people are dying of cancer. But I have had it with this.” Sounds serious
Angelica stuck out her wrist.
Angelica continued, “It keeps hurting …every time I bump it, it sends shock waves up my arms. Is that normal?” “Besides, it’s ugly.”
In Angelica’s case, the cyst was local, non-painful, nothing made it better or worse. No associated fever, or redness was noted
However, Angelica was not going to stand for imperfection. She had the hand surgeon specialist in mind already. She asked her friends who have had similar ganglion cysts.
Angelica was very direct . She stated, “I want Dr. Wentworth. Just make the referral to him. I know he is good because he drives a Tesla and I like his staff. You should see his office. Top of the line.” Angelica is a woman who knows what she wants in life.
Her cyst was removed without complication. She went back to her perfect orderly world where only the select over-achievers are allowed.
I hope this helps