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WRIST GANGLION CYST                                                    KANDIL NOTES


  • Ganglion cysts are benign masses most commonly encountered in the wrist, but which may occur in any joint

  • They can affect any age group

  • The are more common in gymnasts likely due to repetitive use of the wrist

  • 70% of ganglion cysts are found in the back or dorsal aspect of the wrist & communicate with the joint via a pedicle or stalk

  • Ganglion cysts are benign, non-cancerous, and generally harmless

  • They can appear, disappear, and change in size over time

  • People would call these “Bible cysts” as they would use a hard book to try to rupture the cyst 


  • A history of trauma is present in at least 10% of wrist ganglion cyst cases 

  • In the majority of causes, the cause is unknown


  • Wrist ganglion cysts are usually 1–2 cm soft and compressible masses that are mobile

  • There is no warmth or redness or associated skin changes

  • Aching is common but pain and tenderness are less common

  • Wrists on the front or volar aspect of the wrist may cause irritation of the ulnar or median nerve leading to numbness and/or tingling


  • Observation is the most common treatment in the majority of patients if it doesn't hurt or interfere with activities of daily living or quality of life

  • Wrist bracing and immobilization has been shown to be helpful

  • If the cyst becomes associated with pain, interference with activities, and an increase in size, intervention may be appropriate

  • Aspiration can be considered by removing the cyst with a needle. Studies show that repeat aspirations demonstrate a success rate of 30–50%

  • Surgery is reserved for cases that are refractory to conservative treatment. Surgery involves the excision of the entire ganglion complex, including cyst, pedicle, and a cuff of the adjacent joint capsule, with recurrence rates in the 7-10% range for dorsal cysts and slightly higher for volar cysts


  • The best way to prevent a wrist ganglion cyst is to minimize repetitive wrist motion and exertional activities

wrist ganglion cyst capture 1.png
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