A ganglion is a cyst containing synovial fluid that has leaked from a joint. Patients notice a swelling, which is sometimes uncomfortable or painful. Many ganglion cysts will resolve spontaneously, but treatment can be carried out for those which are causing problems.
The simplest method of treatment is the aspiration of the cyst, in which the contents are removed with a needle. Steroid can be injected in at the same time. Unfortunately, recurrence of the cyst is not uncommon after simple aspiration.
Even with surgical excision, there is a risk of recurrence of the ganglion in approximately one in three cases. Depending upon the location of the ganglion, nearby nerves can be at risk during surgery. All surgery carries a risk of stiffness or persistent pain.