What Is Ganglion Cyst Removal?
A ganglion cyst is a noncancerous lump that most commonly
develops in the wrist or hand. Some occur in the ankles or feet. If a ganglion
cyst presses on a nerve, it may be painful. Depending on its location, a
ganglion cyst may restrict movement.
Some cysts do not require any treatment, but others require
In ganglion cyst removal, a doctor will remove the cyst capsule
or stalk in order to completely remove the cyst. Even with surgery, a ganglion
cyst may reoccur.
What Are the Benefits of Ganglion Cyst Removal?
Patients with severe ganglion cysts can benefit from surgical
removal. Some patients never experience pain or limited movement because of
their cysts, so they do not require surgery. When a cyst gets large and cannot
be treated by other methods, surgical removal can provide relief.
While it does not eliminate the chance of cysts completely, surgery
removes the source of discomfort.
What Are the Side Effects of Ganglion Cyst Removal?
Patients may experience localized pain after surgery. This
can be relieved by numbing medications, over-the-counter pain medications, or
prescription pain medications.
Some patients may experience swelling at the removal site.
This will go away in time, and it can be treated with ice.
In rare occasions, infection may occur after ganglion cyst
removal. A doctor may prescribe an antibiotic to prevent the infection from
spreading. Patients are encouraged to keep their dressing and wounds clean to
prevent infection and minimize scarring.
Preparing for Ganglion Cyst Removal
Before deciding to remove a ganglion cyst, your doctor will
discuss other treatment options. Surgery is usually seen as a last resort for
treating ganglion cysts. Your doctor may recommend having the cyst drained (through
a process called aspiration). Your doctor may also prescribe a wrist brace to
prevent mobility around the cyst.
If your doctor decides that surgery is the best option, follow
his or her instructions to prepare for surgery.
How Is Ganglion Cyst Removal Performed?
Ganglion cyst removal is almost always an outpatient procedure.
It may be performed under local or general anesthesia. Before surgery, your
doctor may draw a line above the cyst to mark the incision location. During the
surgery, your doctor will numb the treatment area and cut along the line with a
scalpel. Then the doctor will identify the cyst and cut it out, along with its capsule
or stalk. Once the cyst is removed, your doctor will stitch the opening to let
the skin heal.
What Are the Risks of Ganglion Cyst Removal?
Like any surgery, ganglion cyst removal poses a risk of
infection. Patients may experience an allergic reaction to the anesthesia used
in the removal, or to the stitches used to seal the removal site. Most people
who have a ganglion cyst removed heal quickly and without difficulty.
What Is the Outlook After Ganglion Cyst Removal?
Patients almost always return home the same day as the
procedure. A ganglion cyst removal does not guarantee that ganglion cysts will
not return. Some patients experience new cysts a few years after surgery.