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Ganglion cyst removal
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By Dan Felix
Sep 23, 2012

I have a ganglion cyst on my left wrist. Had it for probably 5-6 years, a few years ago I popped it myself only to have it reappear. It started causing pain on occasion a year or two ago, sometimes while bearing weight, sometimes simply by a specific movement. I'm a landscaper by trade and running an excavator with pilot controls (IOW, very easy to move the controls) caused pain last year, not to mention the daily regimen of shoveling and hauling pavers/wall block around....

This last April I saw an ortho and he took several x-rays and subsequently aspirated the cyst while I was there. It has since come back to "normal" size, especially in the last couple of weeks and is causing pain more than I like to deal with.

My plan is to have it surgically removed this winter, likely December, so as to not interfere too much with work (I don't ice climb). I know there's ~25% chance that it will come back following surgery. My question for anyone that has had a similar cyst is how long of a recovery did you have following surgery and I'm assuming climbing got easier afterwards? Did it reappear?


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By rock_fencer
From Columbia, SC
Sep 23, 2012
Myself placing a a blue/yellow offset MC to protect between Bolt 2/3 just post crux . <br /> <br />Picture credit goes to eric Singleton, and many thanks to Josh Bagget for the great belay.

i had a friend in fencing in college who always got small cysts in her wrist. She had surgery i believe once, but they came back...I'm not sure we have a causality for why they appear. I would see if they can do arthroscopic procedure too if you are looking at surgery.

T


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By Steve Williams
From Denver, CO
Sep 23, 2012

Put your wrist on a table, and smash it with a phone book.
Cyst=gone.


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By Dan Felix
Sep 23, 2012

Steve, that's sort of what I did to pop it the first time. I don't have a lot of hope that it won't come back after surgery but at this point merely draining/popping it isn't working.


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By Tristan B
From La Crescenta, CA
Sep 23, 2012
Hanging out on Royal Arches

I had one like 4 years ago. I got hammered and had my friends slam my wrist into the bar but it didn't pop. Then randomly a few months later it was gone. I think I popped it from a snowboarding fall.

Before that when I went to a Dr. he said there was 3 options: surgery, getting the juice sucked out with a needle, or smacking my wrist against a blunt object. Maybe just try having it sucked out?


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By Christine Parry
Oct 15, 2012

Sorry to hear about your wrist. When I went to my doctor to get one checked out, she called them Bible cysts, since smacking them with one used to be the recommended course of treatment.

I have two ganglion/Bible cysts: one on the palm of my hand, and another on the side of my foot. The one on my foot doesn't hurt, and only appears after wearing climbing shoes. I can usually massage it away.

When the one on my palm started hurting whenever I pulled down with that hand, I enlisted a friend to phonebook/Bible it. It never popped. I took two or three weeks off of climbing and "massaged" (i.e. mashed my thumb into it and squished it around) it every day and it went away. When I started climbing again, the cyst returned (smaller than before) but the pain didn't. I think the time off helped a lot; that was about a year and a half ago.

My doctor's advice was to avoid surgery if I could: she said that about half of the time, the cyst returns. She recommended a heavy book and aspiration whenever it got too large unless the pain was constant or unmanageable. I haven't gotten it professionally aspirated before, but I have jammed a needle into the one on my foot which fixed it for a while (that's probably not the recommended course of action, but I figured the worst thing that would happen would be that it didn't help and I would feel silly).

The Wikipedia article on ganglion cysts has an interesting quote: "A similar study in 2003 of palmar wrist ganglion states: 'At 2 and 5 year follow-up, regardless of treatment, no difference in symptoms was found, regardless of whether the palmar wrist ganglion was excised, aspirated or left alone.' "

My cysts don't seem to be nearly as detrimental as the one you describe. You said you had it aspirated in April; can you try aspirating it one more time in December when you're not working as much and not climb for a month or so?

Sorry I can't be more helpful. Good luck with whatever you choose to do. If you do decide to get surgery, remember that even though 25-50% of the surgeries don't fix it permanently, that means that 50-75% of them do, so the odds are with you.


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By S.Stelli
From Colorado Springs, CO
Oct 15, 2012

I have one that rides directly under the tendon for my pointer finger, on the back of my wrist. I've had it drained twice, but the second time they drained it they put a shot of steroids in it. It is still there but the steroids have kept it at bay for a very long time now. The pain it used to cause me was due to the pressure on the tendon from the swelling.

You might try aspiration again and a steroid shot before you go with surgery... talk with your ortho about it


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By Nelson Day
From Joshua Tree, CA
Oct 25, 2012
me (about to sneeze)

I had a ganglion on my left wrist. My insurance at the time sucked. It sucked bad enough that it took me about 3 months to actually get referred to a surgeon/doctor, who had to get approval through my insurance for the procedure to remove it. By the time I obtained the approval, the cyst somehow just vanished. Strange.... I remember it being painful with wrist rotation, and playing with it/thinking about slamming a book on it to pop it, as others had said they had done. Glad it went away. It hasn't returned over the last 3 years.


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By brysonh
From SLC, UT
Oct 25, 2012

I had one removed from my wrist, and it never came back. It was years ago and well before I started climbing so I wouldn't be much help with recovery time. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.


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