A hand cyst, also known as ganglion cyst is a swelling or a tumor on top of the joint or the covering of the tendon and it appears as a sac of liquid. Inside it, there is a thick, clear, sticky, colorless, colorless, jelly like material. Depending on its size, the cysts may feel spongy or firm. A single large cyst or many small ones may develop. Multiple small cysts give an appearance of more than one cyst, but they all have a common stalk in the deeper tissue which connects them. This kind of cyst is not harmful.
Hand cyst are more common in women and 70% of them occur in people aged 20-40. It does not occur in children younger than the age of 10. They commonly occur on the back of hand, at the wrist joint, and may also occur on palm side of the wrist. When developed on the back of the wrist, they become prominent whenever the wrist is flexed forward.
Hand Cyst Symptoms
The hand cyst appears as a bump that changes its size. It is usually soft and varies from 1-3 cm in diameter and doesn’t move. The swelling appears over time a time or suddenly. Most cysts cause a little amount of pain, usually followed by acute or repetitive trauma. The pain is usually non stop and worsens by joint motion. You may also feel weakness in the affected finger.
Hand Cyst Diagnosis
A physical exam often reveals a hand cyst. Your doctor may confirm it by using a syringe and draw out some fluid from the cyst. Ultrasound can also help to evaluate the bump to detect if it is fluid filled or solid. It may also detect whether it is an artery or any blood vessel causing the lump. Ultrasound being quick, inexpensive and reliable detection mode has gained popularity. X-rays have little use in cyst diagnosis. Your doctor may also advice you to seek a hand surgeon if the bump is solid or it involves any blood vessel or artery. Magnetic resonance imaging or MRI is also used to observe the wrist.
Hand Cyst Medical Treatment
Many hand cyst can disappear without any treatment at all. Various treatments regarding cysts have been proposed over the years. Some of them include, telling people, with cysts but without serious symptoms, not to worry and use a needle to remove the cyst’s contents. This process is known as aspiration. Aspiration includes placement of a needle in the cyst, drawing out the liquid material, injecting a steroid compound because it behaves as an anti inflammatory agent, and then splinting the wrist tightly to keep it firm as to prevent its movement.
Studies have shown that up to 74% of people get cured after drawing the fluid out once with a needle. If you draw out the fluid three times, then your possibility of being cured rises up to 85%, particularly with a cyst on the back of the wrist. Although in serious cases, where larger symptoms appear, surgery is the most appropriate option. If you compare the success ratio of aspiration and surgical removal, then cysts return less often after a surgery.
Hand cyst may cause problems, so better take precaution and get the right treatment before its get too late.