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Ganglion Cyst

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:


Ganglion Cyst

(Cyst, Ganglion; Ganglion)


A ganglion cyst is a fluid-filled sac. They are most common on the back of the wrist.

Ganglion Cyst.

Nucleus factsheet imagehttp://services.epnet.com/getimage.aspx?imageiid=73447344si55551207.jpgsi55551207.jpgNULLjpgsi55551207.jpgNULL\\hgfiler01a\intellect\images\si55551207.jpgNULL17NULL2008-11-07212390Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.


The cause is not known.

Risk Factors

Ganglion cysts are more common in young people and women. They are also more common in people who do activities that put stress on the wrist, such as gymnastics.


Symptoms may be:

  • A soft bump, often on the back of the wrist
  • Pain at the site of the bump, but not always


The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. An exam will be done that focuses on your wrist. This is often enough to make the diagnosis.


Some ganglion cysts go away in time and may only need to be monitored. The goal is to ease any pain and reduce activity. Options may be:

  • Medicine to ease pain and swelling
  • A corticosteroid injection to shrink the cyst
  • A splint to keep the wrist in place to allow it to rest


There are no methods to prevent this type of cyst. The cause is not known.





  • Common benign skin lesions. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/common-benign-skin-lesions.
  • Ganglion cyst of the wrist and hand. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00006.
  • Ganglia (ganglion cysts). Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/musculoskeletal-and-connective-tissue-disorders/hand-disorders/ganglia.
  • Moreno-Ramírez D, Ruiz-Villaverde R, et al. process of care for patients with benign cysts and tumors: Consensus document of the Andalusian Regional Section of the Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (AEDV). Actas Dermosifiliogr. 2016 Jun;107(5):391-399.


  • Warren A. Bodine, DO, CAQSM
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.