What is Ganglionectomy?

Ganglionectomy is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of a ganglion.

Effects of Ganglionectomy

This procedure is effective in removing ganglion cysts. Ganglionectomies may also be done for other reasons, such as the treatment of chronic pain.

Candidates for Ganglionectomy

Individuals who have been diagnosed with ganglion cysts are the best candidates for this procedure.

Your Consultation

Do not eat or drink anything past midnight or the morning of the procedure. Do not even drink coffee, tea or water after midnight.

The Ganglionectomy Procedure

General, regional or local anesthetic will be given to you. Then the doctor will make an incision around the cyst and take it out. After that, the doctor will close the incision with the use of stitches or special surgical strips.

A majority of physicians prefer the more traditional procedure called aspiration. In this procedure, an 18- or 22-gauge needle connected to a 20–30-mL syringe is inserted into the cyst. The doctor gets rid of the fluid slowly by suction. The doctor may inject a corticosteroid medication into the joint after the fluid has been withdrawn. Then a compression dressing is applied to the site. The patient stays in the office for about 30 minutes.

Several ganglion cysts are so huge that excision may be necessary. In this procedure, the physician palpates, or feels the borders of the sac with the fingers and marks the sac and its periphery. Then the sac is cut away with a scalpel. After that, the doctor closes the incision with sutures and applies a bandage. The patient stays in the office for about 30 minutes.


Patients should stay away from strenuous physical activity for no less than 48 hours after surgery and should report any signs of infection or inflammation to their doctor. A follow-up appointment should be scheduled within 3 weeks of aspiration or excision. Excision may result in a little stiffness after the surgery, as well as some difficulties in flexing the hand due to scar tissue formation.


Aside from the risks that anesthesia may bring, other risks include infection, bleeding and the recurrence of the cyst. In rare cases, nerves or blood vessels in the area may be damaged. Also, the healing cut could develop an unsightly scar but may not appear too obvious after some time.


What is a ganglion cyst?

A ganglion cyst is a bump or mass that grows beneath the skin. Most commonly, ganglions are seen on the wrist (usually the back side) and fingers, but can also build up around joints on the shoulder, elbow, knee, hip, ankle and foot. Ganglion cysts extend when tissues near certain joints turn out to be inflamed and swell up with lubricating fluid. They can grow in size when the tissue is irritated and often can “disappear” spontaneously. Sometimes, these masses or cysts appear to grow but are not tumors or cancerous.

What are the symptoms?

Ganglions can be painless; however, they are frequently coupled with tenderness and pain, which may constrain the range of movements.

How is a ganglion cyst diagnosed?

Ganglion cysts are rather easy to diagnose because they are mostly visible and pliable to the touch. They are recognized from other growths through their location near tendons or joints and via their fluid consistency. Ganglion cysts are sometimes mixed up with a carpal boss (a bony, non-mobile spur on the top of the wrist), but can generally be singled out by the fact that they can be moved and are usually less painful for the patient.

What are the causes of ganglion cysts?

The origin of ganglions is not that evident. Conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or non-occupational factors have been linked with ganglion cysts. Occupational factors also play a significant role in the growth of ganglions. Those occupations that necessitate workers to overuse certain joints such as the wrist and fingers create the probability for ganglion cysts.

What is a ganglionectomy?

Ganglionectomy involves the removal of a cyst from your hand, wrist, foot or other body part. A ganglion cyst is a swollen, closed sac under the skin. The sac is connected to the sheath of a tendon, or may be attached to a joint. The cyst consists of fluid comparable to joint fluid.

What are the alternatives to this procedure?

Substitutes to this procedure consist of taking out the fluid with a needle or a syringe, with or without a cortisone injection, and opting not to have treatment, acknowledging the risks of your condition.