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Excision of a ganglion

A brief description of a ganglion

A ganglion is an abnormal swelling that forms beneath the skin. Though they can form alongside any joint in the body, they are most commonly found on the wrist or hand (see diagram). Ganglions are filled with synovial fluid, which is a dense, jelly-like fluid that provides protection and lubrication to tendons and joints during movement. A ganglion forms when the synovial fluid leaks and gathers beneath the skin.

Typical position and appearance of a ganglion

Why should I have surgery?

The discomfort you feel, and the lump, should disappear. With surgery, the chances of the ganglion never returning are greatly improved.

What are the possible alternatives to surgery?

It is common for a ganglion to disperse on its own within a couple of years of first appearing. If it is not bothering you, it is best left alone. Fluid can be drawn out of the lump using a needle. Cortisone, a steroid, can be injected into the ganglion. Neither of these treatments are a long term solution.

How is the operation carried out?

Different anaesthetic techniques can be used. The procedure rarely takes more than 30 minutes. The ganglion is separated from the nearby tendons, blood vessels and nerves. Once the ganglion has been separated it is then removed.

How long will it take to recover?

You could return home the same day. By exercising on a regular basis you will increase your chances of returning to normal activities sooner. But before you start, check with a relevant healthcare professional or your doctor. You will feel discomfort for a few days but this and any stiffness should improve fairly quickly. It is possible that the ganglion may come back in time.

Summary

A ganglion may be uncomfortable but it is not too serious. If it is causing you problems it can be removed by your surgeon.

Acknowledgements

EIDO Healthcare Limited

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