A ganglion cyst (also known as a myxoid cyst) is a benign growth most often found near the wrist and fingers. Less commonly, they are found on the feet, knees and ankles. A common term for these lesions is a ‘Bible cyst’ or ‘Bible bump’. Ganglion cysts are typically round or oval in shape and are filled with a jelly-like fluid. They have a smooth shiny surface and vary in size. Small ganglion cysts can be as little as 0.5cm, while larger ones can be around 2.5 cm in diameter. Ganglion cysts are not generally painful unless pressing on a nerve, joint or tendon. Their location can cause a limitation in motion of the joint.
What is it?
A cyst can develop simply through a fluid leak from the local joint, or degeneration of the connective tissue on the top of the joint. The joints use fluids to remain lubricated. From time to time, there are small leaks in the different channels that move fluid around the joints. This allows a tiny balloon of fluid to appear at the surface of the skin. Common causes of a cyst include arthritis or a bony spur.
Ganglions are relatively harmless and can resolve by themselves. However, if the ganglion is persistent, or causes a groove or ridge to develop in a fingernail, or limitation in motion of a joint, treatment may be preferred.
Getting Ganglions Removed
Dermatologists can perform one of several simple procedures to attempt to treat these lesions. An injection of cortisone into the cyst may help with swelling. The cyst may also be treated with cryotherapy (freezing). Aspiration of the cyst with a sterile needle may also be effective. This involves putting a hole in the cyst and applying pressure. The contents are then expelled. It is not uncommon for the cyst to recur after this treatment. If this is the case, a hand surgeon may be required to excise the cyst and tract leading from the joint space.
If you have any questions or concerns about ganglions contact your local doctor, who will arrange for you to see a dermatologist. Contact us today