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Ganglion Cyst (cont.)

What Is the Treatment for a Ganglion Cyst?

Many ganglion cysts can disappear without any treatment at all.

Various treatments have been proposed over the years. Some include observation of cysts without symptoms, using a needle to remove the cyst's contents (aspiration), or surgery.

  • Aspiration usually includes placing a needle into the cyst, drawing the liquid material out, injecting a steroid compound (which acts as an anti-inflammatory agent).
  • Studies have shown a majority of people are cured after having the fluid drawn out with a needle one time.
  • If you have the fluid drawn out three times, your possibility of being cured is even higher, particularly with a cyst on the back of the hand.
  • If you compare aspiration/injection and surgical removal, in general, cysts return less often after surgery.

Other therapy has been attempted (corticosteroids, manual compression, electroacupuncture, for example), but one should discuss such treatments with a doctor before being attempted, since the outcomes vary.

What Are Home Remedies for Ganglion Cysts?

In the past, home care has included topical plaster, heat, ice packs, and various poultices. It even extended to use of a heavy book to physically smash the cyst (sometimes this is called "Bible therapy" or cyst popping). These forms of treatment are no longer suggested, however, because they have not been shown to keep the ganglion cysts from returning and could, in fact, cause further injury.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/12/2016

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