Ganglion cyst

A ganglion cyst or wrist ganglion is a small lump which appears in the wrist, often attached to a ligament. Some are not painful but others may require treatment.


Wrist ganglions are more common in women with 70% occurring in people between the ages of 20-40. They appear around the wrist joint as a small, often painless lump. As well as a small lump or swelling in the wrist, symptoms may include wrist pain which can vary from mild to severe. The pain may come and go, as might the swelling. MRI scan is likely to confirm the diagnosis.


The cause of a ganglion cyst is not known although damage to the joint has been suggested as well as a problem with the joint capsule or tendon sheath which causes the joint tissues to bulge out.

If the cyst is not painful then no treatment is necessary. It can jut be left. However if the it is painful or causes problems in sport then a doctor may aspirate the cyst or suck out the fluid with a needle. There is a high chance of a ganglion cyst recurring up to 70%.

Injection of corticosteroid can give temporary relief and in more severe cases surgery is required to completely remove the cyst although it is possible in 30% of cases the ganglion will return.

Ganglion cyst surgery

Wrist surgeonSurgery is sometimes considered if conservative treatment is not successful. Mr. Elliot Sorene MBBS FRCS (Tr Orth) EDHS Consultant Orthopaedic, Hand Upper Limb Surgeon talks to about surgery and other treatment options.