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Ganglion Cyst

Ganglion cysts are noncancerous fluid-filled lumps (cysts) that most commonly develop along the tendons or joints of your wrists or hands. They may also appear in your feet. Inside the cyst is a thick, sticky, clear, colorless, jellylike material. Depending on the size, cysts may feel firm or spongy.

Ganglion cysts are more common in women, and 70% occur in people between the ages of 20-40. Rarely, ganglion cysts can occur in children younger than 10 years.

Ganglion cysts most commonly occur on the back of the hand at the wrist joint but they can also develop on the palm side of the wrist. When found on the back of the wrist, they become more prominent when the wrist is flexed forward. A ganglion cyst may develop suddenly or gradually over time. The exact cause is unknown.

In many cases, ganglion cysts will cause you no pain and require no treatment.

Often, they go away on their own.

When to Seek Medical Care

Whether you have symptoms or not, your ganglion cyst can benefit from medical evaluation. Your doctor can be sure that you have a ganglion cyst, keep you from worrying, and help decide on the best treatment plan for you.
When you do need treatment for a ganglion cyst — due to pain or interference with joint movement or for cosmetic concerns — it usually consists of removing the fluid from the ganglion cyst. Your doctor may recommend that you wear a wrist splint. This can help relieve pain caused by activity and promote healing. If these options don’t work your doctor will decide if surgically removing the cyst is an option for you.


Surgical removal of the cyst is needed when the mass is painful, interferes with function (especially when your dominant hand is involved), or causes numbness or tingling of the hand or fingers.


Recovery typically takes from about two to six weeks. In a few cases the cysts may return. However, the majority of people experience successful results with surgery.