Before looking at ganglion cyst removal and treatment, it’s important to understand what a ganglion cyst is. A ganglion cyst is a harmless, sometimes painful, fluid-filled swelling which usually develops near a joint or tendon.
What are the symptoms of a ganglion cyst?
A ganglion cyst can vary in size from a pea to a golf ball. They consist of synovial fluid, the thick, gelatinous fluid which surrounds joints and tendons, and they feel and look like a smooth lump under the skin.
While they can occur adjacent to any joint, they are especially common on the wrist, hand and fingers.
What are the causes of a ganglion cyst?
It’s still a bit of a mystery as to what causes ganglion cysts to develop. What we do know is that it grows out of a joint or the lining of a tendon. Ganglion cysts seem to occur when the tissue surrounding a joint or tendon protrudes out of place. The fluid found inside the cyst is similar to that found in joints and tendons.
When should I seek treatment for a ganglion cyst?
While ganglion cysts are harmless, they can nevertheless be painful. If they are not painful they can safely go untreated and may disappear on their own, which can take a number of years.
Treatment is only recommended if there is pain or if the ganglion cyst is affecting the movement of a joint – this may be available on the NHS but increasingly less so.
You may wish to have a ganglion cyst removed for cosmetic reasons – this would not be funded by the NHS.
What does the ganglion cyst treatment involve?
There are two main techniques for treatment – aspiration and surgical removal:
Ganglion cyst aspiration
Aspiration is an outpatient procedure and involves using a needle and syringe to extract as much synovial fluid from the cyst as possible. Sometimes the area is injected with steroid medication to reduce the chances of the ganglion cyst coming back. It is a simple and painless procedure and often the first treatment offered. You’ll be able to go home immediately afterwards.
Ganglion cyst surgery
Surgery to remove a ganglion cyst takes two forms: open surgery; (where your surgeon makes a cut of about 5cms over the affected area), and arthroscopic surgery, which is a form of keyhole surgery and uses an arthroscope as a guide. Both can be performed under either local or general anaesthetic, depending on your preference and what your surgeon thinks is most appropriate.
How long does ganglion cyst removal surgery take?
Aspiration takes a matter of minutes, and depending on the technique used surgical removal can take between 20 and 45 minutes.
How long will I be in hospital?
For aspiration and surgery using local anaesthetic there will be no need for a stay in hospital. If you have a general anaesthetic you may need to stay for a night depending on the time of day of your operation and your reaction to the anaesthetic.
What are the results of ganglion cyst removal?
If you have had a surgical removal, your wound will be stitched and bandaged. If surgery was performed on your hand or wrist then elevation and gentle movement of your fingers will help swelling and aid healing.
How long is recovery from ganglion cyst surgery?
Following your surgery, you should expect soreness and swelling at the site of your incision. This will likely last for a few days. Icing the affected area will help to reduce the swelling and speed up your recovery. Most patients will make a full recovery in two to six weeks.
What are the risks and complications of ganglion cyst removal?
Ganglion cyst removal is a minor operation and as such rarely has risks or complications. If you have had a surgical removal you may experience:
Wound infection. This may require short course of antibiotics.
Bruising, stiffness and swelling which may require physiotherapy.
Damage to structures nearby such as surrounding nerves, blood vessels and tendons.
Risks associated with general anaesthetic
The recurrence of the ganglion cyst, which can be particularly high around the wrist.
How to prepare for a ganglion cyst operation
More often than not, ganglion cysts will go away on their own accord. However, on occasion, surgery is required.
If you need surgery to remove a ganglion cyst, you’ll need to prepare for the operation. Your doctor may recommend that you stop taking certain medications prior to surgery. In the days before your operation, you should let your doctor know if you have a cold, flu or fever. This may affect whether your procedure needs to be delayed. As with any operation, if you’re a smoker, you should quit to help expedite your recovery.
How to get rid of a ganglion cyst – next steps
If you need to get a ganglion cyst removed, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can submit a consultation form below or explore the different ways to pay for treatment with Practice Plus Group.
Ganglion cyst removal cost in the UK
The average cost of ganglion cyst removal in the UK is £2,522. The lowest cost nationally is around £1,665, with prices fluctuating by region.
At Practice Plus Group, the cost of ganglion cyst removal is £2,505.
Ganglion cyst aspiration cost
Aspiration is typically the first treatment offered for a ganglion cyst. It involves draining the fluid out of the cyst with a needle and syringe. Local anaesthetic is applied to the skin over the cyst and a small needle is used to aspirate the fluid out of the cyst.
While this form of treatment is immediately effective, it doesn’t remove the root of the cyst. This means the cyst can return in future.
Aspiration of a ganglion cyst costs less than surgery, and patients should expect to pay around £1,000 for the treatment.
Ganglion cyst removal FAQs
Not found what you’re looking for? Our FAQs can help! Read on for more information about ganglion cysts.
How long does a ganglion cyst last?
Usually between 12-18 months. In most cases, ganglion cysts will go away without treatment, while some can re-appear despite having treatment. If a ganglion cyst is painless, a health provider may recommend simply watching and waiting.
Is it worth removing a ganglion cyst?
In most cases, people with ganglion cysts won’t experience pain or a lack of mobility due to the condition. However, when a cyst becomes too large, this can prove an issue. This is when removing the cyst can be the most beneficial.
When should I worry about a ganglion cyst?
If you’ve had a ganglion cyst for more than 12-18 months, you might want to consider treatment. Untreated ganglion cysts can burst and cause blood poisoning.
What happens if a ganglion cyst is left untreated?
The most common complication to untreated ganglion cysts is infection. An untreated cyst can fill with bacteria and become an abscess. This can burst inside the body and lead to blood poisoning.
Can I remove my own ganglion cyst?
No. It isn’t recommended to try to remove ganglion cysts yourself. In the past, one remedy was to “thump” the cyst with a heavy object. This isn’t recommended as the force of the blow can damage the area around the cyst. Patients should also refrain from trying to pop or puncture the cyst themselves.
Is ganglion cyst surgery painful?
Although not usually painful, after surgery you’ll be given painkillers for any discomfort. You might need to wear a sling for a few days if your cyst was on your wrist.
Private ganglion cyst removal near me
Ganglion cysts removal is available on the NHS or at a private hospital. At Practice Plus Group, we offer fast access to high quality hand and wrist surgery via self-pay, insured and NHS routes. The surgery costs £2,505 and is available at the locations listed in the table below.
Why choose Practice Plus Group?
At Practice Plus Group Hospitals we’re passionate about giving patients a positive experience and excellent clinical outcomes, with personalised care every step of the way. Whether you’re paying for yourself or using private medical insurance, with our short waiting times, unrivalled Care Quality Commission (CQC) ratings and high levels of cleanliness and infection control, we’ll make sure you’re looked after. In fact, we were the first provider to have all services rated ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ by the CQC.
Went here as a nervous patient. From the moment I arrived I was made to feel welcome and looked after extremely well. Practice Plus Group staff are just amazing and caring.
by M K
Best hospital I have ever been in
This is the best hospital I have ever been in. The care and efficiency were excellent. My operation was conducted by a top class surgeon and anaesthetist who made me feel relaxed and secure. The team in the Kingfisher ward were kind and professional with good bedside manners and sense of humour. There were no delays in the treatment. My stay was made as comfortable as possible and I thank everyone involved. I am now recovering well.
by Iain Robertson, Google
Portsmouth – brilliant service
I visited [Practice Plus Group Surgical Centre, St Mary’s Portsmouth] walk-in centre today and although there were quite a few people already there I was in and out in 15 minutes. They were very efficient and helpful.
Portsmouth – Caring staff
I very much appreciate the passion and attentiveness of you and your caring staff at [Practice Plus Group Surgical Centre, St Mary’s Portsmouth].