The natural history of untreated dorsal wrist ganglia and patient reported outcome 6 years after intervention

J J Dias, V Dhukaram, P Kumar
Journal of Hand Surgery, European Volume 2007, 32 (5): 502-8
We have evaluated the long-term outcome of excision, aspiration and no treatment of dorsal wrist ganglia prospectively in 236 (83%) of 283 patients who responded to a postal questionnaire at a mean of 70 months. The resolution of symptoms was similar between the treatment groups (p>0.3). Pain and unsightliness improved in all three treatment groups. The prevalence of weakness and stiffness altered only slightly in all three treatment groups. More patients with a recurrent, or persistent ganglion complained of pain, stiffness and unsightliness (p<0.0001). Patient satisfaction was higher after surgical excision (p<0.0001), even if the ganglion recurred. Twenty-three of 55 (58%) untreated ganglia resolved spontaneously. The recurrence rate was 58% (45/78) and 39% (40/103) following aspiration and excision, respectively. Eight out of 103 patients had complications following surgery. In this study, neither excision nor aspiration provided significant long-term benefit over no treatment.

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