Synovial (ganglion) cysts of the wrist


The synovial cyst is the second most common problem that is encountered in the hand. This consists of a balloon like swelling, or bump, they can either be located on the front or on the back of the wrist (please see diagram).


Most cases of synovial cysts (also called ganglion cysts) do not have any associated symptoms, pain or weaknesses. However, in certain cases this large bump can cause localized pain with movement of the wrist because it pushes on adjacent structures which normally aren’t supposed to be pushed on (see diagram).


These synovial cysts in the wrist are most often diagnosed by history and clinical examination: occasionally an X-rated can be useful in order to rule out other problems.





The treatment of a synovial cyst in the wrist can include prescription orthotics (or splinting), as well as temporary decompression by aspiration. However these are often measures which offer temporary relief.

More often, patients will choose to have the bump removed with minor surgery for both functional as well as aesthetic reasons.


Surgery for a synovial (ganglion) cyst of the wrist is usually done as an outpatient procedure under local or regional block anaesthesia. The surgery lasts between 20 and 30 minutes; following which a dressing is applied, and the patient is allowed to go home. Use of the hand after surgery is allowed with some modifications. Basically we ask that you not use the hand forcefully for 2 to 3 weeks after surgery. Judicious use of the end is allowed within the first week after the procedure.

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