Debunking 5 Misconceptions About Ganglion Cysts
A ganglion cyst is one of the three most common types of lumps found in the hand and wrist. While it can affect 10 to 30% of adults at some point in their lives, there are still many misconceptions surrounding the condition, symptoms and treatment methods.
We will be debunking some of these misconceptions in this article so that you get a clearer idea of what to expect if you were to notice a ganglion cyst grow in your hand.1. Ganglion cysts may be cancerous
Although some types of cancer can cause cysts, a cyst itself is usually non-cancerous. Ganglion cysts are benign and harmless in most cases. They also do not spread, though some can change in size by becoming larger with increased activity.
If your ganglion cyst is bothering you, it is advisable that you speak to a hand surgeon in Singapore for treatment options.2. Ganglion cysts only affect older people
Most people think that cysts only occur in older people, but you may be surprised to find out that ganglion cysts most commonly appear in younger people between the ages of 15 and 40. Women are also more likely to be affected as compared to men. People with jobs or professions, such as gymnasts, that require applying repeated stress to the wrists may be more at risk of developing a ganglion cysts.
But that is not to say ganglion cysts will not affect older people – these fluid-filled cysts are typically associated with arthritis in the finger joint which is common in women between the ages of 40 and 70.3. Ganglion cysts will not go away
The good news is that around 30 to 50% of ganglion cysts may go away on their own without treatment but can take up to 12 to 18 months. Hence, if you are looking for a quicker alternative or the cyst does not seem to be going away, seeking treatment is your next option.
A hand surgeon may suggest conservative treatment such as observation or immobilisation, or surgery if needed. However, it is also important to note that some ganglion cysts reappear even after treatment.4. Ganglion cysts do not present with any symptoms
Many ganglion cysts do not produce any other symptoms apart from the appearance of a lump, although some smaller ones can remain hidden under the skin. Nevertheless, it is still essential to look out for pain, tingling and numbness that can occur if a cyst presses on a nerve.
You may wish to seek treatment early even if you are not experiencing any other symptoms, as the look of an unsightly lump alone is enough to cause distress.5. Surgery is the only treatment for ganglion cysts
This is untrue, as treatment methods vary according to each individual and the severity of your ganglion cyst. If the cyst is not affecting your quality of life or resulting in pain, your doctor may suggest non-surgical methods like immobilisation to help it decrease in size and ultimately, the lump may disappear on its own.
But if the ganglion cyst is causing you pain and discomfort, aspiration may be recommended. It is a procedure in which the area around the cyst is numbed and the cyst punctured with a needle to drain the fluid. In other cases such as when a cyst reappears, surgery may be necessary to remove it.Consult a hand surgeon about ganglion cysts today
Dr Jacqueline Tan is a hand surgeon in Singapore who treats a wide variety of hand and wrist conditions, including ganglion cysts.
Consult her for an accurate diagnosis and to find out the most appropriate treatment method for your ganglion cyst.