Q:

How is a synovial cyst on the lumbar spine treated?

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A synovial cyst on the lumbar spine can be treated by alternating applications of heat and cold, steroid injections, regular aspiration of the cyst and surgery, according to Spine-health.com. Pain caused by a synovial cyst can also be treated by NSAIDs such as Ibuprofen and by brief periods of rest.

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Synovial cysts are aspirated when a medical professional inserts a needle into the facet joint and removes fluid from the cyst, which relieves pressure on the lumbar spine, according to Spine-health.com. To reduce inflammation, this procedure is then followed by the injection of a steroid.

Physicians also inject steroids around the cyst epidurally, says Spine-health.com. These injections can be given two or three times a year. If more conservative treatment doesn't bring relief, the last resort might be surgery.

The patient might opt for microdecompression or decompression with spinal fusion, claims Spine-health.com. Microdecompression is usually an outpatient surgery, and the patient can return to normal activities fairly quickly. The cyst is removed with a bit of bone to ease pressure on the spinal nerve. This should lessen pain.

In decompression with spinal fusion, the cyst is removed and two vertebrae, often the L4 and L5 vertebrae, are fused together. This is an in-patient procedure, according to Spine-health.com.

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