Ganglion cysts are non-cancerous lumps that can form on the hand or wrist. Sometimes, surgery becomes an option to remove them because they don’t respond to other treatments or come back.

What is ganglion removal surgery?

Considered a very routine surgery, the surgeon will remove the ganglion cyst at the root, which is typically a joint capsule or tendon sheath. The technical name for this surgery is ganglion excision.

Who should have ganglion removal surgery?

Nonsurgical treatments are often tried first and can include waiting to see if it goes away, a splint or brace to reduce the irritation causing pain, or draining the fluid, which is called aspiration.

Does ganglion removal surgery work?

Ganglion removal is a very low-risk surgery as you won’t be put under general anesthesia, but your surgeon will discuss infection risks as well as any others. While surgery is more effective than non-surgical methods at removing a cyst for good, cysts may still return. The estimated rate for cysts returning is about 20 percent. Choosing a fellowship-trained hand surgeon like the ones at OrthoNebraska means you are picking someone with lots of experience doing this type of surgery.

What can I expect when I have ganglion removal surgery?

After you schedule surgery, you may need a pre-surgical physical to make any necessary accommodations based on your health history. When you arrive at the hospital, you’ll speak to your surgeon and anesthesiologist. Usually, local anesthesia will numb the hand and wrist and a mild IV sedative will help you relax during surgery. You will go home just a few hours after surgery.

Some pain and swelling are common after the surgery, but you should be able to return to normal activity two to six weeks after surgery.