Ganglion cysts, beware of water-filled lumps on your hands

A ganglion cyst is a fluid-filled, gel-like lump that usually grows along a tendon or wrist joint. If a ganglion cyst appears accompanied by pain or tingling, take it to the doctor immediately for proper treatment.

Ganglion cysts range in size from a pea to 2.5 cm in diameter. In addition to the hands or wrists, these cysts can also appear on the feet or ankles. As a result, movement of the hands or feet may be impaired.

Until now, the exact cause of ganglion cysts is not known. There is a theory that these cysts are caused by injury or impact that makes the joint tissue rupture to form many small cysts. These small cysts then coalesce and become larger in size. Meanwhile, another theory reveals that there is damage to the joint capsule or tendon sheath due to the aging (degenerative) process that allows the joint tissue to protrude.

How to treat ganglion cysts

Ganglion cysts are usually painless, go away on their own, and go away without any treatment, although it can take years. Patients with ganglion cysts will generally be advised to rest and reduce movement in the area where the lump is located.

However, if the cyst is accompanied by pain, tenderness, tingling, numbness, or muscle weakness, this means that the cyst is pressing on an adjacent nerve. For that there are ways that can be done to treat it, namely:

  • Immobilization

    The area where the ganglion cyst is located can be splinted (splinth) or retaining frame (braces) for the time being. The goal is to limit the movement of the affected area so that the cyst does not enlarge. When the lump of the cyst shrinks, then the pain subsides because the pressure of the ganglion cyst on the surrounding nerves relaxes.

    Splint or braces advised not to use in the long term because it can cause the muscles in the surrounding area to become weak. To prevent muscle weakness, this method of treatment is often coupled with physiotherapy.

  • Aspiration (suction)

    Aspiration is a simple and painless procedure. Patients can even leave the hospital immediately after the procedure is complete. In this procedure, the doctor removes fluid from the cyst using a syringe.

    This method is often the first choice for treating ganglion cysts because the risk is considered lower when compared to surgery. Unfortunately, this procedure has a drawback, namely that ganglion cysts can grow back. If that's the case, the only way to go is with surgery.

  • Operation

    There are two types of surgery that can be used to remove a ganglion cyst. The procedure is determined taking into account the location of the ganglion cyst, the anesthetic used, and the doctor's opinion. The two types of operations are:

    • Open operation

      In this procedure, the doctor makes an incision about 5 cm long above the location of the ganglion cyst.

    • Operation arthroscopic

      Also known as an arthroscopic procedure. In this procedure, the doctor makes a small incision to insert a tiny camera (arthroscope) which makes it easier for them to see inside the joint. Then arthroscope It is used as a guide tool for removing ganglion cysts.

As long as the ganglion cyst is still perched on your hand or foot, it is advisable not to squeeze, poke, or hit it. Besides being ineffective, this method can also cause infection. If suddenly there is a lump on your hand or foot, it is advisable to consult a doctor to get the right treatment.