What are they?
Ganglions are benign swellings that contain jelly like material and can occur throughout the hand and wrist. They are generally harmless, but occasionally their size can cause symptoms by pressing on the surrounding tissues.
Where they are commonly found?
- Back of the hand
- Front of your wrist, towards your thumb
- On the back of your finger, near the base of your nail (These ones are associated with arthritis)
However they can occur anywhere!
Do I need an operation?
Not normally. Most ganglions resolve spontaneously over a couple of years.
Are there any non-operative treatments?
Traditionally the treatment was to hit them with a large book, causing them to burst! Nowadays needle aspiration is a more controlled method. Unfortunately these methods do have a high incidence of recurrence.
If I decide to have an operation what happens?
The operations are usually day case procedures, which means you, can arrive and leave on the same day. The operation can be performed with local anaesthetic, which means only part of your hand goes numb, or general anaesthetic, which means you are asleep. Afterwards a large dressing is applied, which you can reduce at 72 hours. There will be a small adhesive dressing over the actual wound. You need to keep the initial dressing dry.
When do I get seen again?
We will usually see you back in the clinic at around 10 days for removal of the stitches. The next appointment would be around 6 weeks. You will usually be able to drive after the stitches have been removed, IF, you have minimal pain. You must be able to perform all manoeuvres safely within the car.
More detailed information can be obtained from the NHS website: Excision of Ganglion