What is surgical removal in the hand or wrist?

Surgical removal is a medical procedure in which doctors remove a body part, damaged tissues or other objects from your body. Ganglion cysts are common growths that doctors remove using surgery.

A ganglion cyst is a lump that often grows on your wrist or hand. While it's not cancerous or harmful in most cases, it can be uncomfortable and cause pain. It also interferes with wrist or hand movement. You may not like the way it looks.

Ganglion cysts form in your joints and fill up like small balloons. They increase in size the more you move your wrist, hands or fingers. They can get smaller if you limit your movements. If not, your doctor may recommend removing the ganglion cyst with surgery.

What to expect from surgical removal in the hand or wrist

Ganglion cyst removal is an outpatient surgery. You can go home on the same day you have the procedure. After your operation, the healthcare team monitors your condition and sees how you're feeling as the anesthesia wears off.

Your doctor performs a physical examination and imaging tests prior to scheduling your surgery. This provides a better idea of which parts of your hand or wrist are affected. It helps rule out other conditions that might cause the lump.

In the surgery, your doctor makes an incision in your skin at the location of the ganglion cyst. They remove the cyst and any affected parts of the strong tissues between your hand and wrist bones. These are the roots of the cyst. Removing these structures reduces the chance of the cyst returning.

Following the surgery, you may feel pain and swelling at the site of the operation. Your doctor may prescribe pain medication and antibiotics to prevent infection. You can often return to normal activities within two to six weeks.

Common conditions requiring surgical removal in the hand or wrist

Ganglion cysts often require surgical removal to reduce pain, increase movement and improve appearance. While the exact cause of a ganglion cyst is unknown, there's evidence that injury and overuse play a part. Damage to the joint can cause fluid to leak into the tissues surrounding your joint and form a cyst.

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