How Long Does It Take to Recover From a Ganglion Cyst Removal?

Medically Reviewed on 1/19/2021

How long does it take to recover from a ganglion cyst removal?

It takes between two to eight weeks to recover from ganglion cyst removal.
It takes between two to eight weeks to recover from ganglion cyst removal.

Complete recovery may take about two to eight weeks. Recovery time depends on the site of the ganglion cyst and the type of treatment used. For faster recovery, you need to follow the following instructions

  • You may feel better within the first few days, but complete recovery takes about two to eight weeks.
  • Use the operated part carefully and gently after the surgery.
  • Avoid any activities that may irritate the operated area.
  • Elevate the operated site above your heart to aid in reducing swelling.
  • Use ice packs for any discomfort.
  • After an aspiration surgery or cyst removal surgery, you must wear a splint for a week. The splint ensures limited movement and takes stress off the joint.

Your doctor will excise the root (the part that connects the cyst to the joints or tendon) of the ganglion cyst to prevent its recurrence. They will give you instructions after the surgery that you need to follow for faster recovery.

You can also expect some side effects after the surgery, which include

  • Infection
  • Nerve/tendon or blood vessel damage
  • Pain
  • Scarring
  • Recurrence

What is a ganglion cyst?

A ganglion cyst is a noncancerous fluid-filled lump under the skin. The most common site for a ganglion cyst would be a joint or tendon in the hand or wrist. The ganglion cyst may occur due to a small tear in the tissue covering the joint or tendon, causing the tissue to swell and form a sac. The leaking fluid from the joints fills the sac and develops into a mass or lump.

Depending on the location, the name of the ganglion cyst changes according to where it is on the body:

  • Cyst on the top of the wrist: Dorsal wrist ganglion cyst
  • Cyst on the palm side of the wrist: Volar wrist ganglion cyst

The exact cause of ganglion cysts is unknown. It can appear or disappear on its own. Exercise or excessive use of the joint where the ganglion cyst has formed may cause it to grow.

A ganglion cyst is more common in younger people between the ages of 15 to 40 years old and women are most commonly affected.

What to expect during a ganglion cyst removal

Surgical removal prevents the recurrence of cysts in most cases. The physician prefers surgery when all other nonsurgical options fail.

There are some things to expect before and during surgery.

Before the surgery

  • You must stop taking aspirin, ibuprofen and other blood thinners one week before surgery or as directed by your doctor.
  • Ask your doctor about the drugs you should continue until the day of surgery.
  • Tell the physician about any possible bleeding disorders or other medical conditions (such as high blood pressure and diabetes) that you may have.
  • You may have to have a blood test to evaluate levels of different things.
  • Let your doctor know if you have a cold, flu, fever, herpes breakout or other illness before surgery.
  • Refrain from smoking to help you recover more quickly.
  • Your doctor may ask you to avoid eating or drinking anything after midnight the night before surgery if the surgery is planned under general anesthesia.

During the surgery

  • Ganglion cyst removal is generally done under local anesthesia as an outpatient procedure. In some cases, general anesthesia may be given to make you sleep throughout the procedure.
  • The surgeon will remove the entire cyst, including the thin sheet covering the joint or tendon.
  • After removing the cyst, the surgeon closes the incision and applies a bandage.

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Medically Reviewed on 1/19/2021
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