Ganglion Cysts

Ganglion cysts are common lumps that appear on the hand and wrist. They typically occur at 4 sites:

  • the back of the wrist
  • the front of the wrist
  • the base of the finger
  • the end joint of the finger.

These lumps are generally not painful but may be of concern due to their appearance. They may fluctuate in size and may disappear spontaneously.


Diagnosis can usually be made by examination alone. X-rays may be used to look for any arthritis or other joint problems. An ultrasound may be helpful if the ganglion is very small or to help outline the full extent of the ganglion.


Some ganglions may disappear spontaneously and require no treatment. Sometimes, reassurance is all that is required if the ganglion is not causing problems. If the ganglion persists and is troublesome, then injection with steroid may help.

Ultimately, removal may be required or requested. This is generally performed as a day surgery in hospital under general or local anaesthetic. Surgery aims to remove the ganglion and a small cuff of joint capsule from which the ganglion arises. This is performed through an incision directly over the swelling.


A splint may be used after excision of wrist ganglions for a few weeks. There is up to a 10% chance of recurrence with any ganglion.

More Information on Ganglion Cysts

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Hand Ganglion Cysts