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What Is Ganglion ?

A ganglion cyst (also known as a bible bump) is a swelling which is filled with clear fluid or jelly and is often found on the back of the wrist. A ganglion develops from the sheath around the tendon and the capsule which surrounds a joint. These are a harmless category and usually don’t cause problems unless irritated or inflamed.

Rarely, these ends up compressing the hand nerve, thereby effecting the movements of the hand and might make fine hand movement difficult to perform. It may also lead to a feeling of odd sensations in the hand. The size of the cyst varies as time passes by and become prone to getting inflamed resulting in discomfort. These can become an embarrassment for the person, if these become visible outside.

Symptoms of Ganglion

Ganglions usually appear at the back of the wrist, and at times might also form on the front of the wrist, palm or in the fingers. Their size is variable, ranging from the size of a small pea to that of a plum.

Cause of Ganglions

It is believed that ganglions are caused by overuse of the joints, leading to the degeneration of the surrounding tissue, in effect resulting in the formation of these cyst-like structures.

Though, the exact cause for the formation of ganglions is still not known. Some schools of thoughts also predict that ganglion cysts occur due to the pockets of synovium protruding from the joint capsule. But recent researches have proved that it is just a misconception as if this were the case, the toughness of the cyst would not be accounted for.

Who's Affected By Ganglions?

Ganglions can effect any age-group and sex and are very common to be found. Presence of ganglion is often found amongst the age group between 20 and 60. It is observed that women suffer from this phenomenon more than men

Ganglions are especially common amongst people who have to undergo regular or repetitive strenuous activities involving the wrist. For example, weight lifting, gymnastics, waiters, tennis and golf playing, playing guitar or double bass etc, all require strenuous wrist movements, thus increasing the chances of ganglions development.

Ganglions Treatment

Ganglions do not require any sort of treatment and disappear on their own accord sooner or later. However, if the ganglion starts getting inflamed and irritated causing discomfort, one might consider going for a surgery and getting the ganglion surgically removed.

This becomes especially important if the ganglion starts causing the nerve problem by compressing it and hampering the movement of the arm and hand. Small cysts, which are not causing any problematic symptom do not require any treatment and will disappear themselves over time.

If a ganglion cyst does prove to be problem creating, one can use aspiration or excision to get rid from it. Usually aspiration of the cyst is practiced as it is easier of the two procedures. However by following this procedure, it is seen that in almost fifty percent of the cases where aspiration was performed, recurrence of cysts was observed. On the other hand, using a surgery to remove the cyst, the recurrence cases were a measly five to ten percent, and no complications further were noticed.

The recurrence rate is further reduced, if the hand or the finger is left immobilized for a week or two, giving it time to heal and the joint tissues to recover further. These days, another procedure to remove ganglions has been developed. Arthroscopy of the wrist has developed as an alternative to the process of excision of cysts. This is especially because during this procedure, the root cause of the cysts can be seen and worked upon.

Also there is no requirement for immobilization after this procedure of arthroscopy is practiced. One other procedure, which has been used since long is by hitting the cyst with a heavy book causing it to rupture and drain out the fluid that is filled inside it. It is the cheapest way to get rid of the ganglion, but is often not recommended as it might end up damaging the surrounding area.

Post Your Comments

Comment Script


i have a ball type thing on the back side of my palm and close to wrist. a doctor told that it is ganglion.

he told that we can smash it and operate it as u like.

please tell me something that what should i do as it is causing pain at times
#1 - gmgupta - 12/02/2008 - 07:19
my 12 year old was diagnosed with a ganglion cyst today, she injured her wrist back in february and it has hurt ever sence, do you think that this may have caused it? any advice.
#2 - michele - 04/27/2009 - 18:57
dear , i already operate & surgery my ganglion before 6 month but now at present i am not feel well my my wrist is paining and sweeling on my ganglion so now what should i do ? suggest me ?
#3 - Ashish - 07/20/2009 - 01:39
a small ganglion developed a week ago over the wrist joint. It do not cause any pain or interfere in mobility of joint. My family doctor prescribed Lofecam SR (Lornoxicam) tabs 1 each for 20 days. Is this due to excessive stress on wrist joint while doing weight training at Gym I am doing?
#4 - Vaikunth Bhat - 12/20/2009 - 05:32
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