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How is a shoulder cyst treated?

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Quick Answer

A shoulder cyst is often treated through surgery or aspirating, depending on whether the shoulder cyst is fluid-filled and on where the cyst is located in the shoulder area, according to the Hand to Shoulder Center of Wisconsin. The size of the shoulder cyst can also affect treatment.

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Full Answer

Most shoulder cysts are ganglion cysts and are harmless. However, when the cysts grow to an uncomfortable size or interfere with daily functioning, then the cysts must be removed, according to the Hand to Shoulder Center of Wisconsin. Before any treatment can begin, however, the shoulder must be examined, and the cyst must be examined by a medical professional. The ganglion cyst typically only occurs amongst younger patients, while older patients tend to suffer with osteoarthritis pain in their shoulders, notes the Orthopedic Associates of Hartford.

In most cases, doctors recommend attempting to aspirate the cyst before surgery. To aspirate the cyst, doctors take a syringe needle and inject it into the cyst to pull out the fluid. They may also inject a steroid to facilitate healing. The cyst often diminishes in size and is no longer painful. Cysts that do not contain fluid, however, cannot be aspirated. Surgery involves cutting the cyst out of the shoulder and removing the common stalk that generates the cyst, according to the Hand to Shoulder Center. Surgery may leave patients with stiff or sore sensations in their shoulders, but should eliminate all shoulder pain after a few days.

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