Ganglion cysts are often painless, requiring no treatment. Your doctor may suggest a watch-and-wait approach. If the cyst is causing pain or interfering with joint movement, your doctor may recommend:

  • Immobilization. Because activity can cause the ganglion cyst to get larger, it may help to temporarily immobilize the area with a brace or splint. As the cyst shrinks, it may release the pressure on your nerves, relieving pain. Avoid long-term use of a brace or splint, which can cause the nearby muscles to weaken.
  • Aspiration. In this procedure, your doctor uses a needle to drain the fluid from the cyst. The cyst may recur.
  • Surgery. This may be an option if other approaches haven't worked. During this procedure, the doctor removes the cyst and the stalk that attaches it to the joint or tendon. Rarely, the surgery can injure the surrounding nerves, blood vessels or tendons. And the cyst can recur, even after surgery.
Jan. 05, 2016
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  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. Accessed Nov. 4, 2015.
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  5. Ganglion cyst. American College of Foot and Ankle surgeons. Accessed Nov. 4, 2015.
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