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Patient information: Ganglion cyst (The Basics)Written by the doctors and editors at UpToDate

What is a ganglion cyst? A ganglion cyst is a small sac of fluid that forms over a joint or tendon.

Common places for a ganglion cyst are:

Wrist (picture 1)Finger jointsTop of the foot

Ganglion cysts can also form on the knee, shoulder, back, or other parts of the body.

What are the symptoms of a ganglion cyst? The symptoms include:

SwellingPainTrouble moving a joint

Is there a test for ganglion cyst? Yes. If you have a bump that looks like a ganglion cyst, the doctor ornurse will probably be able to tell what it is just by doing an exam. He or she might also shine a powerfullight into it. If light passes through, that means the bump is filled with fluid. This tells the doctor it could be aganglion cyst.

If the doctor or nurse is not sure what is causing your symptoms, he or she might order an imaging test suchas an MRI or an ultrasound. Imaging tests create pictures of the inside of the body.

How is a ganglion cyst treated? Some ganglion cysts go away without any treatment. Your doctor ornurse might wait to see if the cyst goes away on its own.

If you do get treatment, the doctor or nurse might:

Drain the cyst Doctors can stick a needle into a cyst and take out the fluid. Sometimes they alsoinject a medicine into the cyst that can help keep fluid from coming back.

Do surgery The doctor might take out the cyst and fix any damaged tissue nearby.

What if my symptoms do not get better? If your symptoms do not get better, talk with your doctor ornurse. If you have been waiting to see if the ganglion cyst goes away without treatment, you might needtreatment.

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All topics are updated as new evidence becomes available and our peer review process is complete.Literature review current through: May 2012. | This topic last updated: Apr 6, 2012.

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Ganglion on the back of the wrist

Ganglion cysts (see arrow) often form on the wrist. Cysts likethese are filled with a clear, jelly-like fluid. Reproduced withpermission from: Sheon RP, Moskowitz RW, Goldberg VM. Soft TissueRheumatic Pain: Recognition, Management, Prevention, 3rd ed, Williams &Wilkins, Baltimore 1996.

Patient information: Ganglion cyst (The Basics)

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Patient information: Ganglion cyst (The Basics)

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