Ganglion cyst

Last reviewed: 25 Apr 2022
Last updated: 19 Oct 2021

Summary

Definition

History and exam

Key diagnostic factors

  • subcutaneous wrist mass
  • wrist pain
  • nontender mass
  • increased mass size after activity
  • transilluminating mass
More key diagnostic factors

Other diagnostic factors

  • unable to recall onset of lump
  • cosmetically unpleasing lump
  • hand or finger coolness
  • paresthesia or weakness of fingers
  • reduced sensation in the hand
Other diagnostic factors

Risk factors

  • female sex
  • age 10 to 30 years
  • trauma
  • scapholunate instability
More risk factors

Diagnostic investigations

1st investigations to order

  • no initial test
More 1st investigations to order

Investigations to consider

  • cyst aspiration
  • erythrocyte sedimentation rate
  • C-reactive protein
  • complete blood count
  • uric acid
  • wrist x-ray
  • ultrasound
  • magnetic resonance imaging
More investigations to consider

Treatment algorithm

ACUTE

without neurovascular compromise

with neurovascular compromise

Contributors

Authors

Philip Blazar, MD

Associate Professor of Orthopedic Surgery

Harvard Medical School

Brigham and Women's Hospital

Boston

MA

Disclosures

PB declares that he has no competing interests.

Acknowledgements

Dr Philip Blazar would like to gratefully acknowledge Dr Marco Rizzo and Dr Kristofer S. Matullo, previous contributors to this topic.

Disclosures

MR and KSM declare that they have no competing interests.

Peer reviewers

George Chloros, MD

Fellow

Department of Orthopedic Surgery

Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center

Winston-Salem

NC

Disclosures

GC declares that he has no competing interests.

Lorenz Buchler, MD

Senior Physician

Clinic for Orthopedic Surgery

University Hospital Bern

Bern

Switzerland

Disclosures

LB declares that he has no competing interests.

  • Ganglion cyst images
  • Differentials

    • Carpal tunnel syndrome
    • Lipoma
    • Giant cell tumor of the tendon sheath
    More Differentials
  • Guidelines

    • ACR Appropriateness Criteria: chronic wrist pain
    • ACR Appropriateness Criteria: soft-tissue masses
    More Guidelines
  • Patient leaflets

    Carpal tunnel syndrome

    More Patient leaflets
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