Aaron Mull, Reconstructive Hand Surgeon, Plastic Surgeon
Your grandparents probably called them “Bible cysts” and “cured” them by whacking them with a large book, but ganglion cysts are the most common hand mass seen in orthopaedics accounting for 60-70% of patients. A ganglion cyst is usually asymptomatic but may just be an annoyance or considered unattractive to some patients. They often occur on the top or bottom of the hand or wrist and can grow larger over time. While ganglions are not harmful and safe to leave alone, many opt to have them either aspirated or removed surgically. Typically, the fluid inside a ganglion is thick, jelly-like and hard to aspirate and combined with the associated discomfort and high recurrence rate, it’s usually not worth it. Surgical removal has a better chance of fully removing the cyst but there is still a slightly lower, but still present, risk for the cyst to return. Finding a lump or growth can definitely cause some anxiety and concern for many patients, so it’s always best to have them checked to rule out anything more serious.