Most ganglion cysts are painless and don’t require treatment. Oftentimes, a board-certified hand specialist will monitor a ganglion cyst before suggesting a treatment option.
Nonsurgical treatment options
If the ganglion cyst is causing pain, your hand specialist may immobilize your wrist. They will give you a brace or splint to wear because activity can make the cyst get larger. As the cyst shrinks, it may release pressure on the nerves and relieve the pain.
Sometimes, a board-certified hand specialist will recommend aspiration, using a needle to drain the cyst. With aspiration, the area around the cyst is numbed and the cyst is punctured with a needle so that it can be drained. The doctor may inject a steroid into the cyst after it is drained to decrease the chances of the cyst occurring.
Surgical treatment options
If nonsurgical treatments fail, a doctor may suggest surgery. During the surgery, the doctor will make a small incision in order to remove the cyst. Surgery can usually be completed in about 20 minutes. Arthroscopic treatment options are available for cysts in the wrist joint.
After an examination and a review of your past medical history your spine surgeon or his physician assistant will order x-rays to determine the cause of your pain. An MRI of your spine may also be ordered to determine if there is nerve compression and determine more accurately which level within your spinal column is affected. In some cases your spine surgeon may order a nerve study called an electromyography (EMG). This tests the specific nerves to determine which nerves are being affected. After diagnostic testing is completed your physician will determine your treatment plan.