Diagnosis

During the physical exam, your doctor may apply pressure to the cyst to test for tenderness or discomfort. He or she may try to shine a light through the cyst to determine if it's a solid mass or filled with fluid.

Your doctor might also recommend imaging tests — such as X-rays, ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) — to rule out other conditions, such as arthritis or a tumor. MRIs and ultrasounds also can locate hidden (occult) cysts.

A ganglion cyst diagnosis may be confirmed by aspiration, a process in which your doctor uses a needle and syringe to draw out (aspirate) the fluid in the cyst. Fluid from a ganglion cyst will be thick and clear or translucent.

Jan. 05, 2016
References
  1. De Keyser F. Ganglion cysts of the wrist and hand. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 4, 2015.
  2. Frontera WR, et al. Hand and wrist ganglia. In: Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation: Musculoskeletal Disorders, Pain, and Rehabilitation. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2015. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Nov. 4, 2015.
  3. Ferri FF. Ganglia. In: Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2016: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier, 2016. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Nov. 4, 2015.
  4. Ganglion cysts. American Society for Surgery of the Hand. http://www.assh.org/handcare/Hand-Anatomy/Details-Page/articleId/27970. Accessed Nov. 4, 2015.
  5. Ganglion cyst. American College of Foot and Ankle surgeons. http://www.foothealthfacts.org/footankleinfo/ganglion-cyst.htm. Accessed Nov. 4, 2015.
  6. Amadio PC (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Nov. 9, 2015.