What is a synovial cyst?

The synovial cyst or ganglion, consists of abenign tumor lesionthat protrudes from the skin as a lump, which occurs near a joint or tendonof areas near the wrist, hand, ankle or feet, in its upper or lower part. (1)

You should know: Synovial cysts are benign tumors thatcome out of a jointand ganglions are benign tumors that arise from tendons, but for practical purposes,both terms have the same meaning.

Synovial cysts or ganglionshave no definite causeand can appear in people of any age, some of these cystsusually occur without pain and others with pain, and in some cases can limit the movements of the nearest joint.

Theselesions are formed from a capsule, which contains viscous and gelatinous fluid similar to synovial fluid that lubricates joints or tendons and in many cases tendto disappear spontaneously.

Why does a synovial cyst form?

Below, we list a set ofpossible causes ofthe appearanceof the synovial cyst:

1. Trauma

Synovial cysts or ganglions, despite not having a defined cause to which to attribute their appearance, in some caseshave been related to injuries due to previous traumas and related toreparatory processes of the same organism such asscars, however, not in all these circumstances appear. (2)

2. Inflammatory or degenerative disorders

At this point, as well as at the previous one, there is insufficient evidence to link the appearance of synovial cysts or ganglions to causes of inflammatory disorders in joints and degenerative processes.

However, some rare cases have associated the appearance of these lesions with degenerative processes . (3)

3. Repeated use and overloading of the wrist

The most probable cause of synovial or ganglion cysts has been attributed to irritation of the joints or tendons due to repetitive movement and the overload of work of these structures.

Note: The synovial or ganglion cyst is considered a pathology of occupational origin, due to repetitive movements and joint and tendon overload during work. (4)

How is a synovial cyst removed?

The treatment to remove the synovial cyst will depend on the doctor’s perspective after an evaluation , however, below we present the most used therapeutic strategies:

1. Immobilization of the area

When a synovial cyst is perceived to appear, constant activity often causes the cyst to increase in size and also increases pressure on the nerves, causing pain.

In this sense, if the constant, prolonged and repetitive movement of a joint and tendon is diagnosed as the probable cause of the appearance of the synovial cyst, it is advisable to immobilize the joint where this lesion is located to avoid irritation and give it the corresponding rest.

2. Anti-inflammatory drugs

The application of a pharmacological treatment is also appropriate, aimed at mitigating the symptoms of cysts or ganglions such as pain and inflammation , but this must be done under the supervision of a specialist doctor.

3. Fluid Drain

Another option to remove the synovial cyst or ganglion cyst is a method for draining the fluid contained within the capsule , which consists of aspiration through a needle and syringe under local anesthesia, of the accumulated fluid.

Important: This procedure must be done by a medical professional in a doctor ‘s office or health care facility.

4. Removal surgery

In that case, where there is a problem for the mobility of the joint close to the synovial cyst and that causes the deterioration of the quality of life of the patient, the recommendation would be the surgical removal of the capsule and the cyst.

To highlight: This procedure is performed in order to free the compromised structure from the pressure and pain caused by the accumulation of fluid.

Key Findings

  • The synovial cyst is a benign tumor lesion that protrudes from the skin as a lump.
  • Synovial cyst often occurs near a joint or tendon in areas near the wrist, hand, ankle, or foot.
  • Synovial cyst and ganglion cyst have the same meaning for practical purposes.
  • The synovial cyst can be removed by immobilization, drug therapy, drainage, and surgery.

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