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Ganglion cyst


A ganglion cyst is a bump or mass that forms under the skin. It looks like a sac of liquid (cyst). Inside the cyst is a thick, sticky, clear, colorless, jelly-like material.

Ganglions are usually seen on the wrist (usually the back side) and fingers, but they can also develop around joints on the shoulder, elbow, knee, hip, ankle and foot.

Ganglion cysts form when tissues surrounding certain joints become inflamed and swell up with lubricating fluid.

They can increase in size when the tissue is irritated and often can "disappear" spontaneously.

These masses or cysts appear to grow sometimes but they are not tumorous or cancerous.

Many cysts (38-58%) disappear without treatment. Conventional treatment includes removal of the fluid and injection of corticosteroids to reduce inflammation.


Ganglion cysts form when tissues surrounding certain joints become inflamed and swell up with lubricating fluid.

Rheumatoid arthritis has been associated with ganglion cysts.

Occupations that require workers to excessively overuse certain joints, such as the wrist and fingers, pose a risk for ganglion cysts.

There are two theories of causes:

1. Trauma causes the tissue of the joint to break down forming small cysts, which then join into a larger, more obvious mass.

2. A flaw in the joint capsule or tendon sheath allows the joint tissue to bulge out.

Conventional Labs

Needle aspiration of the fluid in the cyst.

Ultrasound to determine if the cyst is filled with fluid (cystic) or solid. Ultrasound can also detect whether an artery or blood vessel is causing the lump.

MRI may also be ordered.




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