Ganglion Cysts

What are Ganglion Cysts?

Ganglion cysts are the most common soft tissue swellings of the hand and wrist. They can occur at any age, in either sex, or from any joint or tendon sheath. They are non-cancerous cysts that are filled with fluid. Some will disappear and others may cause problems due to large growth. It is unclear what causes the formation of ganglion cysts, but there is some evidence that they may be related to prior trauma or arthritis.


Not all ganglion cysts need to be removed surgically; some resolve spontaneously while others remain small and asymptomatic. This type of ganglion can be observed without surgery. The larger ganglia that do not disappear or are painful, symptomatic or cosmetically undesirable should be treated. Fluid may be drawn off the cyst but the cyst may still return. The ganglion may also be removed surgically with a lower rate of recurrence. This is performed as an outpatient procedure.


It is important to see a hand surgeon for removal of a ganglion cyst. In addition to having the most familiarity with the anatomy of the hand, hand surgeons are best equipped to ensure that the cyst is excised completely. A ganglion cyst that is incompletely excised is at high risk of recurrence. Our surgeons are very experienced in the surgical removal of these cysts, ensuring they are eradicated from their origin points from deep within joint spaces. We specialize in these procedures at our Monmouth County office.


Mucous cysts are a type of ganglion cyst that occurs in the fingers. They commonly erupt at the distal interphalangeal joints dorsally (top of the furthest knuckle). These cysts can be unsightly and uncomfortable and often persist. Surgical removal is a definitive way of removing the cyst. Oftentimes flap coverage of the finger wound is required after cyst removal.