Chiropractor Chandler AZ

Ganglion Cysts

Ganglion cysts are benign, fluid-filled sacs that appear most frequently on the wrist and occasionally on the hand. The most common location is the top of the wrist. Cysts may also appear on the bottom of the wrist, on the palm of the hand near the base of the fingers or on top of the joints near the fingertips. They are more common in women than men, and typically present in individuals in their 20s and 30s. (Cleveland Clinic, 2017).

The cyst consists of the visible sac that is attached to a stalk. The stalk attaches to a bone or tendon sheath underneath. In most cases, these cysts are not painful.

Nobody is certain what causes these cysts to appear. One popular theory is that they are caused by stress of the underlying ligaments and joints. The stress produces mucin: a viscous substance found in the nose (mucus, saliva, gastric juice etc.), whose main job is to lubricate the area. The theory proposes that this mucin stimulates production of other cells such as fibroblasts (connective tissue cells that produce collagen), which in turn form the sac.

Diagnosis typically consists of a physical exam: the physician may shine a light on the cyst, confirming that it is filled with fluid. This rules out other types of tumors of the tendon sheath or bony abnormalities in the area. In some cases the physician may order a plain film X-ray or MRI to confirm the diagnosis. (Nahra & Bucchieri, 2004).

Sometimes ganglion cysts are "occult:" too small to see. Patients may complain of a dull ache in the area. If a cyst is painful, your primary care provider may recommend anti-inflammatory medications. Avoiding irritation of the area may be enough to cause the cyst to recede.

If the cyst interferes with normal activity, or if you are concerned about it being unsightly, it is possible to aspirate the cyst under local anesthetic and drain out the fluid. In most cases this fixes the problem. If the cyst comes back, your provider may recommend removing it surgically.