A ganglion cyst is a fluid filled sac that commonly occurs in the hand or wrist. They usually develop after mild degeneration of a tendon sheath or joint capsule allows synovial fluid to form an outpouching cyst. The common areas these develop are on the front or back of the wrist, on the palmar side of the fingers and on the back of the fingertip just below the nail.
Over time these can form large lumps on the hand or wrist or can sometimes be painful on movement or pressure. In some cases the cysts can resolve on their own without needing treatment.
Ganglion cysts can usually be diagnosed based on clinical examination and are often confirmed by ultrasound.
Treatment of a ganglion cyst depends on the duration and severity of symptoms. In mild cases it may be managed by waiting to see if it will resolve on its own. In other cases, it may be treated with a steroid injection. However, in some cases surgery may be required to remove the cyst. This involves excising the cyst and the stalk connecting it to the tendon sheath or joint capsule through a small incision.
A consultation with your plastic surgeon will enable personalisation of the procedure and care to your unique situation.
Surgery is usually performed as day surgery under either general anaesthetic, local anaesthetic and sedation or local anaesthetic alone. If you are having a general anaesthetic or sedation, you will need to fast on the day of surgery, and organise a support person to take you home and be around to help in the first few days after surgery.
After surgery, your hand will be wrapped in a bandage for comfort. After a few days, you will be able to remove this and start to move your fingers and use your hand for light activities.
A post-operative appointment will be organised for you to see your plastic surgeon 1-2 weeks after surgery to check your wounds, remove sutures and provide advice to care for your hand as you recover. Generally you will not be able to drive for 2 weeks after surgery and will need between 2-4 weeks off work depending on your type of work (manual work vs office based work).
All operations have risks, though major complications are rare after ganglion cyst surgery. There is a small risk of concerns that may delay healing and require a little extra care (eg minor bleeding, infection, or over active or sensitive scars). Occasionally ganglion cysts can come back after surgery. Very rarely there is a risk of injury to surrounding nerves.
These risks may vary depending on your specific situation and will be discussed with you at your consultation. Please feel reassured that your plastic surgeon will only recommend surgery if they feel that the benefit of the procedure substantially outweigh the risks.
If you have a ganglion cyst, the majority of the cost is rebatable through Medicare and standard private health insurance. This does require a referral from your family doctor.
After your consultation, a detailed quote will be provided to you including the surgeon fee, anaesthetic fee and hospital fee.
You can use this form to request a call back.
Please be aware that all surgical procedures require a consultation with our plastic surgeons to allow a thorough assessment and discussion of your specific needs.