Lumpy and Bumpy? What to do about a Ganglion Cyst on the Wrist

Ganglion CystsThe appearance of an expanding lump or bump on the wrist can be more than a little alarming. Even if said bump does not cause pain, it is understandable that one would feel concerned about what could be causing such growth, and what needs to be done about it.

Lumps that appear on or near a joint or tendon in the wrist may be what are referred to as ganglion cysts. This type of growth usually develops in adulthood, but may (rarely) occur in children, as well. Typically, a ganglion cyst is seen on the topside of the wrist, though underside locations are not unheard of.  If you notice a suddenly-sprouted bump, or develop a lump that grows slowly over time, and that growth feels “rubbery,” soft, or firm, and can be maneuvered through the skin, you may have a ganglion cyst.

Is it Necessary to Treat a Ganglion Cyst Right Away?

Perhaps one of the most important details regarding ganglion cysts that need to be stated is that these growths are benign. They do not indicate that cancerous cells are growing. From this standpoint, it may seem as though treatment for this problem can be postponed as long as possible. This could be true, but not in every case.

In some instances, the fluid-filled ganglion cyst may press against the nerves that travel through the intricate structure of the wrist. The pressure on those nerves could cause symptoms such as tingling and numbness. The grip may also become weak due to the mild impingement. Finally, the range of motion in the wrist could be diminished by the location and size of the cyst. Some patients also express that their cyst causes a frustrating ache or other pain.

Treating the Ganglion Cyst

To develop an appropriate course of treatment for growth on the wrist, it is necessary to accurately diagnose growth itself. In many cases, it is possible to differentiate a ganglion cyst from other types of growths by sight and touch. Observation with a light source may also be conducted to confirm the presence of a fluid-filled sac. If the growth is in question after a physical exam, an X-ray may be requested.

Sometimes, ganglion cysts are very small. They cause discomfort without showing visible signs of growth. These are referred to as occult ganglions, and they may require advanced imaging such as MRI for an accurate diagnosis.

The treatment for a ganglion cyst will depend on several factors, including symptoms, the severity of those symptoms, and the location of the cyst. In some cases, we take a “wait and watch” approach because these cysts sometimes resolve without treatment. If discomfort or limited mobility affect the quality of life, the cyst may be drained (aspiration) or removed through ganglionectomy surgery.

Need help with a ganglion cyst? Contact us at (973) 942-1315 for an appointment in one of our friendly New Jersey offices.

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