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Ganglion

Ganglions are common in the wrist, hand and fingers. They are fluid filled sacs which sit near joints or tendons. There is no understanding about how these occur but it is possible that there is a small tear, from an internal injury, in part of the joint or tendon structures which allows a leaking of fluid. They can occur at any age and can look like a speech bubble with a stem and ball (sac). 

Ganglions are common in the wrist, hand and fingers. They are fluid filled sacs which sit near joints or tendons. There is no understanding about how these occur but it is possible that there is a small tear, from an internal injury, in part of the joint or tendon structures which allows a leaking of fluid.

Ganglions look like a speech bubble with a stem and ball (sac). They can occur at any age.

Ganglions often change in size and can also come and go. They are not cancerous or harmful, but can be irritating and uncomfortable. It is tempting to aspirate the ganglion (take the fluid out of it to make the sac decompress). This can be done but recurrence is very common.

If the ganglion does not cause any symptoms and does not block movement, it can be left alone, as it may disappear over time. If, however, it is causing difficulties most can be surgically removed.

Ganglionectomies are carried out when the ganglion is painful, restricting movement or limiting function.

Specialist surgeons are available for you and they may be either plastic surgeons or orthopaedic surgeons with a specialist training in the upper limb. Successful surgery is best achieved by removing both the sac and the stem of the ganglion. Results are often good but there is always a small recurrence rate.

You may be referred to a hand therapist. Your hand therapist will advise on wound and scar care, management of swelling, movement, strengthening and splinting to manage discomfort as appropriate.

Depending on the ganglion and its location, recovery time can vary. Therapy is usually minimal after this procedure.

Specialists offering Ganglion

Mr Benan Dala-Ali

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

MBBS, MSc, FHEA, FRCS(Orth)

BMI The Saxon Clinic

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Dr Shabaaz Mughal

Consultant Sport & Exercise Medicine Physician

MBBS, MRCGP, MSC(Sport & Exercise Medicine), FFSEM (UK), PGC (Musculoskeletal Ultrasound)

BMI The London Independent Hospital

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Dr Ravi Nagaraja

Consultant in Anaesthesia & Pain Medicine

MBBS, DA, FRCA, FFPMRCA

BMI Albyn Hospital

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Mr Shyam Kumar

Consultant Orthopaedic & Trauma Surgeon

FRCS (Trauma & Ortho), FEBOT (Fellowship of the European Board of Orthopaedics & Trauma), FRCS, M.S (Ortho), DNB (Ortho)  

BMI The Lancaster Hospital

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Mr Gavin Marsh

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

MBBS University of London (Barts) FRCS FRCS (Orth)

BMI Shirley Oaks Hospital

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Mr Christopher James

Consultant Orthopaedic & Hand Surgeon

MBBS (Lond), Dip (T and O), FRCS (Trauma and Orthopaedics)

BMI The Chaucer Hospital

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