Articular ganglia of the volar aspect of the wrist: arthroscopic resection compared with open excision. A prospective randomised study

Lorenzo Rocchi, Alessandra Canal, Francesco Fanfani, Francesco Catalano
Scandinavian Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Hand Surgery 2008, 42 (5): 253-9
Our aim was to compare two methods of treatment of ganglia on the volar aspect of the wrist (the open excision done through a longitudinal volar skin incision and the arthroscopic resection through two or three dorsal ports), to see if arthroscopy could reduce the risks of operating in this area and the time to healing. Twenty radiocarpal and five midcarpal volar ganglia were operated on by open approach and an equivalent group was treated by arthroscopy. Fifteen radiocarpal and five midcarpal ganglia were treated with good results in the open group and 18 radiocarpal and one midcarpal ganglia in the arthroscopic group (no visible or palpable ganglion, a full range of active wrist movement, grip strength equal to preoperatively, no pain, and a cosmetically acceptable scar). In the open group there were four injuries to a branch of the radial artery, two cases of partial stiffness of the wrist associated with a painful scar, one case of neuropraxia, and one recurrence (all of which were among the 20 radiocarpal ganglia). In the arthroscopic group there was one case of neuropraxia, one injury to a branch of the radial artery, and three recurrences (three of the complications were among the five midcarpal ganglia). The mean functional recovery time was equal to 15 (6) days in the open group and 6 (2) days in the arthroscopic group. The mean time lost from work was equal to 23 (11) days in the open group and 10 (5) days in the arthroscopic group. Our results suggest that arthroscopic resection is a reasonable alternative to open excision in treating radiocarpal volar ganglia because it has less postoperative morbidity and a better cosmetic result. Midcarpal volar ganglia, however, should still be treated by open operation.

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