Ganglions/cysts/common hand lumps Surgery

There are several surgical options available for treating ganglions, cysts, and common hand lumps.

  • Excision: This is the most common surgical procedure. The surgeon makes a small incision in the skin and carefully removes the cyst along with its stem.
  • Aspiration: In this procedure, the surgeon uses a needle to puncture the cyst and drain the fluid inside. This surgery is less invasive but has a higher rate of recurrence because the cyst wall is not removed.
  • Arthroscopic Surgery: For cysts near a joint, arthroscopic surgery may be used. This minimally invasive procedure involves inserting a small camera through a tiny incision to guide the removal of the ganglion cyst.

Expected Surgery Outcome

The goal of these surgeries is to permanently remove the cysts and alleviate any accompanying discomfort or limitations to hand function. Most patients experience significant improvement and can return to normal daily activities after recovery. However, there’s always a possibility of recurrence, especially with aspiration which leaves the cyst wall intact.

Potential surgery complications and risks

Like all surgical procedures, there are potential complications which include infection, nerve damage, and recurrence of the cysts.


  • Infection: As with any surgery, there’s a risk of infection. Following post-operative care instructions can help minimise this risk.
  • Nerve Damage: There’s a chance of inadvertent damage to nerves during the procedure, leading to numbness, weakness, or tingling.
  • Recurrence: Even after successful surgery, the cyst may recur, especially if the entire cyst wall was not removed.

Recovery after surgery

After surgery, the treated area is usually bandaged and the patient is advised to keep the wound clean and dry. Patients may be encouraged to gently move their fingers to reduce stiffness and swelling. Pain medication may be prescribed. Physiotherapy may be recommended to restore strength and flexibility in the hand. The recovery period varies depending on the patient and the type of surgery, but most people can expect to see improvement within a few weeks to a few months.