Ganglion Removal - Jack

Jack, needle aspiration – ganglion removal, at BMI London Musician’s Clinic
Consultant: Dr John White, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

Now established as one of the most compelling young violinists on the concert platform Jack has performed with many of the world’s leading orchestras and in 2010 he won a Classical BRIT Award for “Young British Performer of the Year”. 

When Jack started to develop a dull ache in his right wrist, he was naturally concerned what it might be. At first he thought he might have sprained his wrist but weeks passed and the pain continued to throb, and though he managed to play, whenever he bent the fingers of his right hand forward towards his elbow, he felt a jabbing pain. 

Like all professional musicians, Jack relies on his ability to perform to make a living as a virtuoso concert pianist; his bow arm is his livelihood.

Having attempted various home remedies, such as applying ice to the area, Jack decided that it was time to see an expert and visited a physiotherapist, who carried out an ultrasound scan to identify the underlying problem. The scan revealed that Jack had a 2mm lump in his right wrist.

Dr John White, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, diagnosed the lump as a ganglion. In his consultation, Jack discovered that while some ganglion cyst can clear up by themselves, the fact that he had already had his for nearly a year meant that it was unlikely in his case. 

For a musician though, surgery should always be avoided as any kind of procedure which made a fraction of a difference to the way Jack moved his arm, wrist and fingers could have a massive impact on his playing.

Dr White decided to perform an outpatient procedure, carried out under local anaesthetic. The procedure, known as a needle aspiration is carried out under the guidance of a CT scan. The needle is injected through the wrist into the ganglion cyst and the fluid which has built up is drawn out to reduce the swelling. The syringe is then changed and the remaining mass is injected with a steroid medication to promote healing and close the weakness in the joint.

The whole procedure was surprisingly painless and was over in five minutes. Afterwards, Jack’s wrist was bandaged and he felt a slight ache for a few hours, but having slept it off, Jack was playing on BBC Radio 4 the next day