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Ganglion excision


A ganglion is a fluid-filled benign swelling that ‘balloons out’ from the lining of a joint or tendon. Most commonly, they are seen around the wrist area. For some patients, they may cause mild discomfort, while for others, it is simply the appearance of this lump that is bothersome.


  • Type of anaesthetic
    General/ regional anaesthesia
    Length of surgery
    1 hour

  • Nights in hospital
    0 nights (day case)


An x-ray or MRI scan of the area involved may be required in some cases.


If you are not bothered by the appearance of the ganglion, and it is not causing any symptoms, treatment may be unnecessary. If you do want treatment, you should bear in mind that recurrence is a well-know issue. This is particularly important where the appearance of the ganglion is your major concern.

Two main treatments exist. The first is aspiration and injection: a needle is used to suck out the fluid contents of the cyst, followed by injection of steroid, with the aim of causing the area to scar down. This has the advantage of avoiding scars, but often needs to be repeated. The second treatment option is surgical excision, which is done under general or regional (numbing of the whole arm) anaesthetic. An incision is made in the area of the ganglion, and it is carefully traced right down to the joint from which it arises. While the risk of recurrence is less than with aspiration, it may occur. This can be particularly disappointing where the appearance of the ganglion is a major concern, as there is now both a scar and a lump. The most appropriate treatment for you will be discussed at your consultation. Recovery time and the amount of time it will be necessary to take off work will depend on your occupation, hobbies, and certain other factors.