The occult dorsal carpal ganglion

W E Sanders
Journal of Hand Surgery: Journal of the British Society for Surgery of the Hand 1985, 10 (2): 257-60
Chronic wrist pain has many causes, the diagnosis of which is often difficult. Clinical and anatomical research in this area has replaced the diagnosis of "wrist sprain" with a differential diagnosis including carpal chondromalacia, dynamic carpal instability, positive and negative ulnar variance, triangular fibrocartilage complex injuries, and early carpal avascular necrosis. The ubiquitous dorsal ganglion can also cause chronic wrist discomfort and the diagnosis of "occult dorsal carpal ganglion" should be included in the differential diagnosis. Nine patients with chronic wrist pain were diagnosed clinically as having an occult dorsal carpal ganglion despite the absence of a palpable mass. Each was treated by limited dorsal capsulectomy with excision of a small portion of the dorsal scapho-lunate ligament, and small intracapsular ganglia and/or cystic mucinous degeneration of the capsule were found in all nine patients. Of the eight patients available for follow-up examination, the preoperative pain was relieved in seven of the eight and no recurrences were noted at follow-up averaging six months.

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