Ganglion cysts are sacs of fluid around the hand, wrist or thumb that can fade without treatment, but doctors suggest many treatments, including immobilization, aspiration or surgery, according to the Hand Clinic. After treatment, a doctor may suggest that the patient either begin using the joint or immobilize it in a splint or brace. Doctors often schedule check-up appointments to determine if the cyst requires further measures, reports WebMD.
Ganglion cysts are often painless, and doctors usually recommend waiting to see if the condition improves without treatment, unless the cyst interferes with movement and everyday tasks, notes Mayo Clinic. Use of the affected joint may cause the cyst to grow larger, so a brace helps to limit mobility; doctors recommend immobilization both as a treatment and as a post-treatment measure.
Aspiration is when a doctor uses a needle to drain the fluid from the cyst, states Mayo Clinic. Injecting an enzyme into the cyst makes the fluid more jelly-like, making it easier to remove. After removing fluid, many doctors inject a steroid to prevent the cyst's return.
A patient requires surgical removal of the cyst when it is painful, interferes with tasks or alternative treatments were not effective, notes WebMD. Cyst-removal surgery involves a surgeon removing the cyst and the stalk that attaches to the joint or tendon. After surgery, the patient likely has the joint splinted to prevent movement as it heals.