Ganglions (ganglion cysts) are the most common lumps seen in the hand. They usually appear on the wrist, but also at the base of the finger and finger tip and even sometimes can occur in the ankles or feet. The joint lubricating fluid or the fluid around tendons herniate through a defect which is acting as a one-way valve. Though not usually painful they can enlarge to stretch nerves or tendons or distort the nail and this can result in varying levels of discomfort. Ganglions sometimes rupture spontaneously and shrink away only to reappear.
When a ganglion cyst presses on a nerve it can be painful. And depending on its location, a ganglion cyst may restrict movement.
Ganglion cyst removal is usually an outpatient procedure and may be performed under local or general anesthesia. Before surgery, Dr. Kim may draw a line above the cyst to mark the incision location. Dr. Kim then numbs the treatment area and cuts along the line with a scalpel. The doctor then identifies the cyst and cuts it out along with its capsule or stalk. Once the cyst is removed, your doctor stitches the opening to let the skin heal.
- After your surgery, rest as much as you can for a few days. This will encourage the site of your cyst removal to heal. Limit movement of your hand and wrist to minimize pain and avoid irritation of the removal site.
- Minimal, nonrepetitive activity is okay after a cyst removal, such as writing or carrying light objects. Your doctor may recommend finger exercises involving stretching your fingers and thumb as far out as possible and then bending them as much as is comfortable.
- You may experience localized pain after surgery, which can be relieved by numbing medications, over-the-counter pain medications, or prescription pain medications.
- You may also experience swelling at the removal site. Swelling can be treated with ice and will eventually go away.
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Dr. Kim is one of a few board certified hand surgeons in the area. In addition to doing 5 years of general surgery, 2 years of plastic surgery training , 1 year of research in wound healing, he also completed a 1 year hand surgical fellowship at the famous Kutz-Kleinert hand institute in Louisville, KY. Dr. Kim participated in the first US hand transplant in 1999. Dr. Kim has passed the intensive examinations to obtain (CAQH) board certification in hand surgery. He is also a member of the ASSH (American Society of Surgery of the Hand). He performs many of his hand surgeries with WALANT ( wide awake local anesthesia no tourniquet ) which makes the procedure and recovery fast and comfortable. Learn more