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A ganglion cyst is a benign soft-tissue tumor filled with a jelly-like fluid. Ganglion cysts can occur anywhere on the body but are especially prevalent on the feet.
Ganglion cyst removal, or ganglionectomy, is a procedure designed to permanently remove a cyst from the foot. During the procedure, the cyst is separated from surrounding tissue and removed with the fluid sac intact. An alternative to surgical removal of ganglion cysts is drainage of the cyst with a needle or syringe.
Reasons for treatment
For some people, the only symptom of a ganglion cyst may be the noticeable lump of fluid beneath the skin. Aside from cosmetic concerns, cysts may cause mild pain due to irritation between the cyst and the shoe.
Most ganglion cysts are located under the skin. In some cases, it is possible for ganglion cysts to connect to a tendon or joint. If the cyst begins to press on a tendon or joint it can cause a dull but persistent ache. If the cyst presses on a nerve, it can cause sharp pain, tingling, and burning. When cysts are connected to soft tissue, it is best to surgically remove them to prevent recurrence.
How cyst removal is performed
If a mass is diagnosed as a ganglion cyst, it can be left alone, drained with a needle, or surgically removed.
When cysts fail to disappear on their own, one of the simplest methods of treatment is aspiration. This technique involves draining the fluid from the cyst and injecting a steroid into the mass. A large needle is inserted into the cyst to drain the growth, followed by a cortisone injection to reduce inflammation and prevent refilling of the cyst.
Cysts may need to be removed surgically if other treatment methods fail. The recurrence rate of ganglion cysts is much lower with surgical removal than with needle aspiration. Patients are given a local anesthetic during the procedure. The surgeon makes incisions around the cyst; the goal is to remove the sac of fluid still intact. Recovery time is brief.