Home Conditions General advice Surgical outcome Complications Pain relief Links

Cysts and other Ganglions


The words 'cyst' and 'ganglion' are frequently interchanged, so much so that 'ganglion cyst' is used as well. Definitions vary, but a ganglion tends to be a balloon with an 'open' end whilst a cyst tends to be a 'closed' or 'tied-off' balloon. Even though there may be differences between these words, for all practical purposes they represent much the same 'beast' - a fluid filled structure.


Cysts can occur anywhere in the hand both on the back of the hand and fingers and on the palmar aspect. 99% of the cysts seen in the hand are utterly benign and only realy cause trouble either because of where they are, or because they appear unsightly. If the cyst is not causing any trouble then there is no rush to 'leap' into surgery, especially as a majority of cysts disappear spontaneously. The main indication for surgery is the intensity of symptoms and the interference with normal hand function. Even though the surgery is 'minor' it should not be taken lightly and some time needs to be invested in healing. The cases of infection that I have seen following minor hand surgery have most frequently been in patients who have not allowed time for the hand to heal.