A type of lump, which appears next to a joint or a tendon is referred to as ganglion cyst. It can occur near any of the joints, however it is seen more often in the wrist. These cysts are also known as 'Bible cysts'. Ganglion cysts can be found at different places on the wrist. They are usually observed on the top of the wrist, underside of the wrist, i.e. between the thumb and the pulse point, or at the end joint of a finger, or the base of a finger. If it is seen on top of the wrist, it is referred to as a dorsal ganglion.
The most common symptom of this condition is swelling. These cysts are actually benign fluid-filled capsules. They are not cancerous and also, they do not spread to other parts of the body. However, they can certainly increase in size. The ganglion grows out of a joint and resembles a balloon on a stalk. Ganglions are located on the connective tissues between bones and muscles. The fluid in these sacs is slippery fluid and is similar to the fluid in the joints.
These cysts are fluid-filled sacs and they put pressure on the nerves that pass through the joint. Most of them are also painful. The more activity of the area, the more they increase in size. However, as soon as the wrist gets some rest, the size of the cyst decreases.
The causes of this condition are still unknown. It is, however, observed that women are more prone to them. Gymnasts or people, who repeatedly stress out and apply pressure to their wrists are said to get affected by them. They can also be caused due to the overuse of computers. According to statistics, about 70% of the time, this cyst is observed in people between the ages of 20 and 40 years.
It is important to get the condition diagnosed from the health care professional. This will ensure that it is indeed a ganglion cyst and there is nothing serious about it. Depending on the type of cyst, the treatment would differ.
Normally, ganglion cysts go away on their own, but there are also some that tend to grow larger. One would have to adopt a wait and watch policy to check if the cyst disappears on its own. One would have to make sure, that there is nothing more serious happening to it. Sometimes, these cysts form a type of one way valve, due to which the fluid enters them, but there is no way for it to get out. At times, they become very big and cause immense pain. Hence, they might have to be removed.
One of the simple methods to help in the treatment is wrist immobilization. This is because activity increases pressure on the nerves that give rise to pain. One may need to use a hand splint to support the area and decrease the pressure on the nerves. When the size of the cyst decreases, one can also talk to the health care professional for some wrist strengthening exercises.
In some cases, a needle is inserted into the cyst and the fluid is aspirated out of it. Many a time, the fluid that is inside does not come out very well through the needle. At the same time, more often than not, the cyst lining cannot be extracted, causing the cyst to return more than 50% of the times.
The other method of removal is by using surgical procedures. In this procedure, the fluid in the cyst along with the sac is removed, using local anesthesia. Along with the removal of the fluid and sac, the connection to the joint that supplied the fluid is closed. This treatment is normally effective, however, there are chances, that a small percentage of removed wrist ganglion may return. The affected person can resume normal activities in about two to six weeks after the surgery.
Most of the time, this condition in the wrist normally does not pose a health hazard. However, it is always better to get it checked from the health care professional.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.