Ganglions of the hand and wrist

L E Thornburg
Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons 1999, 7 (4): 231-8
Ganglions of the hand and wrist are common benign lesions. They most frequently arise adjacent to joints and tendons, but may also be intratendinous or intraosseous. Treatment options include observation, aspiration, and surgical excision. Observation is acceptable in most instances. Indications for more aggressive treatment include pain, interference with activity, nerve compression, and imminent ulceration (in the case of some mucous cysts). The recurrence rate after puncture and aspiration is greater than 50% for cysts in most locations, but is less than 30% for cysts in the flexor tendon sheath. Surgical excision is effective, with a recurrence rate of only 5% if care is taken to completely excise the stalk of the cyst along with a small portion of joint capsule. Surgical treatment of occult ganglions is successful with accurate assessment of the source of the pain. Arthroscopic treatment of dorsal wrist ganglions is still experimental, but early results are encouraging. Ganglion surgery requires a formal operative environment and careful technique in order to minimize injury to adjacent structures and minimize the likelihood of recurrence.

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