Acute Injuries
Proud Physician | The Steadyman Clinic

Ganglion Cyst Excision

Surgical Procedure

A ganglion is a soft tissue cyst that usually arises from the synovial lining of the wrist joint. Procedure consists of making a small incision in the skin and exposing the ganglion cyst. Ganglion cyst (including the cyst capsule or stalk) is then excised. Depending on the location of the cyst, the incision is closed using either dissolvable Monocryl sutures or nylon sutures.

When you go from surgery, you will be placed in a soft dressing to cover your incision. A splint is not typically necessary following this procedure. Dressings may be removed and changed approximately 3 days after surgery. Incision should remain covered and kept dry until your first post-op appointment or 7-10 days after surgery.

NOTES: Post-op therapy will likely be brief and will emphasize home exercise program / scar management techniques.

Initial Post-op Visit:

  • Dressing:
    • Bulky dressing is removed, and a light compressive dressing is applied.
  • Exercise:
    • Full Active/Passive Range of Motion, tendon gliding exercises for digits and thumb.
    • Full Active/Passive Range of Motion of the wrist, forearm, elbow.
    • .
  • Education:
    • Full use of the involved extremity for activities of daily living (ADL’s).
    • Avoid heavy gripping, lifting, and repetitive wrist motion.

10-14 Days Post-op:

  • Therapist authorized to remove sutures if still in place/if applicable
  • Once the incision is completely healed, scar management techniques may be initiated.
    • Scar massage
    • Use of silicone gel sheeting
    • Scar desensitization

2-4 Weeks Post-op:

  • Progressive strengthening may be initiated at this time.
  • Encourage normal functional use of the hand.


We perform an open excision of ganglion cysts, and the most important aspect is to cauterize the stalk of the cyst which typically arises from the joint space where it originated. With an open ganglion cyst excision, the reoccurrence rate is 5 -10%

You will have full use of fingers immediately following surgery and may feel up to typing and performing basic activities of daily living within a few days. Special attention should be taken to avoid any activities that may increase the possibility of reopening surgical incision.

No, incision should be kept clean and dry for about 7-10 days following surgery

As soon as your incision is fully healed, you may return to all the activities that you enjoy (Approximately 7-10 days after surgery)

Pain from ganglion cyst excision is typically minimal, however, everyone experiences pain differently and we address your pain on an individual basis. Pain is always worse at night and elevating the surgical extremity is the most important factor when working to improve pain. If tolerated, we use extra strength Tylenol and Ibuprofen/Naproxen as a first line medication. Most patients do well with this regimen alone, however, a prescription of Tramadol (if tolerated) is provided to help with breakthrough pain and to help you sleep through the first few nights. Most patients only utilize narcotic pain medication for the first 2-3 days.

We typically perform our ganglion cyst excisions under a light sedation supplemented with local anesthetic

At a Glance

Dr. Kavi Sachar

  • Specializing in Hand, Wrist, & Elbow Surgery
  • Board Certified Orthopedic & Hand Surgeon
  • Consultant to the US Ski & Snowboard Team & Colorado Avalanche
  • Learn more

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