If you’ve ever felt a suspicious lump on your body, you’ll be familiar with the heavy feeling of anxiety and stress that follows.
If the lump is on your wrist or hand, your doctor will likely test it to determine whether it’s cancerous. Or, a benign ganglion cyst.
A ganglion cyst is a benign lump that often develops on or around the joints of the hand and wrist. They also appear sometimes around the ankles and feet. The cysts grow out of a stalk attached to a joint or tendon, and it eventually fills with fluid.
Ganglion cysts are harmless. Most of the time do not need to be treated.
However, they can be painful if they press on a nearby nerve. They can also impede movement when they get too large. If they don’t change the appearance of the skin, they’re known as occult ganglions. Occult cysts can be invisible to the eye.
Today we’re going to discuss ganglion cysts, and explain how they can be treated if you decide to have them removed.
How to Distinguish Ganglion Cysts from Cancerous Tumors
When a ganglion cyst develops, it can be extremely worrying. Fortunately, these cysts are full of the same type of fluid that lubricates our joints. This means they are harmless.
When a cyst first develops on your hand, wrist, or foot, consult a doctor right away. Initially, they’ll use a light to see whether the cyst contains fluid, which is usually a good indication that it’s a ganglion.
If they’re unable to determine whether it’s a ganglion or a cancerous tumor, your doctor may send you for an MRI or x-ray. An MRI is able to see this type of soft tissue, so your doctor can determine what’s inside.
What Risks are Associated With Ganglion Cysts?
Fortunately, there are very few risks associated with ganglion cysts. Typically, these cysts go away on their own if the joint is rested and immobilized as much as possible. However, there are still some risks that remain.
Pain and Discomfort
As a ganglion cyst gets larger, it can begin to press on the nerves surrounding the joint, causing tenderness, pain, and tingling. Sometimes even occult ganglions, which are too small to be seen above the skin, can press on nerves, causing symptoms without a visible reason.
As well, depending on your job and hobbies, a large ganglion cyst can get in the way, causing discomfort and leaving you feeling unbalanced.
Many people who have ganglion cysts on their hands or wrists seek to have them removed. This is usually because they can’t stand the way they look.
Ganglion cysts can grow up to one inch around, which is quite noticeable. This can make people feel very self-conscious.
Who Is Affected by Ganglion Cysts?
Doctors don’t know exactly what causes ganglion cysts.
However, doctors noticed that most of the people who develop them are women between the ages of 20 and 40. As well, people with a history of osteoarthritis, or a history of joint or tendon injury are at increased risk of developing these cysts.
Are You a Candidate for Ganglion Cyst Removal?
Most of the time, doctors suggest that people with ganglion cysts give them time to go away on their own. If they do not, they may recommend that they be removed. There are several methods for ganglion cyst removal, which we’ll go over below.
A popular non-surgical option for the treatment of ganglion cysts is an aspiration. It involves a doctor numbing the area, then using a needle to draw out the fluid inside the cyst. This is typically a temporary fix- if you do not remove the stalk, the cyst will likely fill with fluid again.
Surgery is a good way to remove cysts and other cosmetic skin lesions. For ganglion cysts, this involves cutting into the skin and removing both cyst and stalk in hopes of preventing it from recurring. These procedures are relatively minor in scope, and patients can go home the same day.
A Popular Clinic Offering Cyst Removal in Newmarket
If you’re troubled by cosmetic skin lesions like ganglion cysts, it can feel frustrating to watch them recur over and over again.
An expert cosmetic surgeon like the staff at the Plastic Surgery Skin Clinic in Newmarket can assess your cysts and recommend an effective treatment plan.
There are always steps you can take to feel better. Contact us today to set up an appointment to go over your options in detail.