How to treat a ganglion cyst

How to treat a ganglion cyst

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By Dr Irwin Lim, Rheumatologist

You may have one of these. A firm lump near a bony area, usually the wrists or around the foot or ankle.

The lump’s really quite firm and over time, it becomes less easy to compress. It can grow in size and occasionally, particularly after some trauma, it may become smaller and resolve.

Ganglion Cysts are not dangerous.

They can be removed surgically but most patients want to avoid surgery so these often come to our attention. Usually, when they become uncomfortable or annoying.

These pictures show one way to treat them.


The cyst is punctured with a larger-bore needle (I usually make 2 punctures, using a 19G needle).

The fluid which is usually thick like jelly or toothpaste, can then be squeezed out.


If it’s too thick to squeeze out, doctors may inject some cortisone (steroid).

It’s generally a satisfying procedure for both patient and doctor.

Have you had a ganglion cysts? How was it treated?

Dr Irwin Lim is a rheumatologist and a director of BJC Health. You should follow him on twitter here.
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