Excision of a Ganglion

This page will give you a brief outline as to what an excision of a ganglion entails. Your doctor or relevant health care professional would be happy to answer any further questions you may have.

What is a ganglion?

During movement, a thick, jelly-like fluid called synovial fluid cushions and lubricates our tendons and joints. This fluid sometimes escapes and gathers beneath our skin, which forms a ganglion.

A ganglion is a therefore a benign cyst that lies beneath the skin. Ganglions can form near any joint in the body, but are usually found on the hand or wrist (see figure 1).

Figure 1
Typical position and appearance of a ganglion
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The benefits of surgery

The best way to prevent a ganglion from returning is surgery. The lump and discomfort should go away.

Possible alternatives to surgery

If a ganglion is not treated, and providing it is not causing you any trouble, they will often disperse of their own accord. So if discomfort is minimal they are best left alone. Using a needle, the ganglion can be drained, and this can improve discomfort. Alternatively a steroid known as cortisone can be injected into the ganglion. Both of these treatments are usually seen as temporary.

What does the operation entail?

Various anaesthetic methods are available. A fairly quick operation often completed in under thirty minutes. A cut is made over the site of the ganglion, and the surgeon is then able to displace the ganglion from any tendons, blood vessels or nerves. Once displaced, the ganglion can then be removed.

Possible complications

Most surgical procedures carry some level of risk or possible complication. These will be discussed with you by your consultant or pre-assessment nurse prior to your procedure

How long will I take to recover?

You will be discharged the same day. Frequent, gentle exercise will ensure a faster recovery. Seek advice from your doctor or relevant healthcare professional before you start. The site of where the ganglion was may continue to ache for a short while and stiffness in the joint will get better in time.


A ganglion is not serious and the procedure to remove it is very straightforward.



EIDO Healthcare Limited – The operation and treatment information on this website is produced using information from EIDO Healthcare Ltd and is licensed by Aspen Healthcare.

The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.