Treatment options for a ganglion cyst include immobilizing the affected area, draining the fluid out of the cyst with a needle and removing the cyst surgically. If the cyst is not causing any problems, a doctor may recommend leaving the cyst alone and watching it for unusual changes, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, or AAOS.
Ganglion cysts grow out of the ligaments, joint linings and tendon sheaths surrounding the joints. These fluid-filled sacs may develop in the hands, wrists and fingers. Experts from the AAOS note that the back of the wrist is the most common site for a ganglion cyst.
Immobilizing the affected area restricts movement and prevents the cyst from getting bigger, according to Mayo Clinic. With this treatment method, a splint or wrist brace is used to limit movement. As the cyst shrinks, there is less pressure on the nerves. Aspiration involves inserting a needle into the cyst and draining the fluid. In some cases, the doctor gives a steroid injection after the aspiration procedure. Steroids may help prevent additional cysts from forming at the same site.
If other treatments do not work, or the cyst keeps coming back, surgical removal may be the best option. This procedure is called an excision. During an excision, the surgeon removes the cyst and part of the affected tendon sheath or joint capsule. A patient may resume normal activities approximately two to six weeks after this procedure, according to the AAOS.