Wrist ganglion

A wrist ganglion, also known as a ganglion cyst, is a common benign (non-cancerous) fluid-filled lump or sac that typically forms on or around the joints or tendons of the wrist or hand. Ganglion cysts most commonly occur on the back of the wrist, but they can also develop on the palm side or at the base of the fingers.

The exact cause of ganglion cysts is unknown, but they are believed to develop as a result of repetitive stress or irritation to the joint or tendon. The cyst itself is filled with a thick, jelly-like fluid called synovial fluid, which is normally found in joints.

Ganglion cysts are usually round or oval-shaped, and they may vary in size from a few millimeters to several centimeters in diameter. In some cases, the cyst may be visible and easily felt, while in others, it may be smaller and less noticeable. Ganglion cysts are typically painless, but they can cause discomfort or mild pain if they press on a nearby nerve or interfere with joint movement.

The diagnosis of a ganglion cyst is usually made based on a physical examination and dedicated imaging tests such as X-rays, ultrasound and MRI.

wrist ganglion illustration

Wrist Ganglion

A wrist ganglion is fluid filled. It may arise from your tendons or your wrist joint.

wrist ganglion

MRI Wrist Ganglion

A ganglion may be investigated with an MRI of your wrist. It is seen here as a white structure (blue arrow).


Treatment options for a wrist ganglion may include:

  1. Observation: If the cyst is small, painless, and not causing any functional impairment, a “wait-and-see” approach may be recommended, as some cysts may resolve on their own over time.
  2. Splinting or bracing: Wearing a wrist splint or brace can help immobilise the joint, alleviate symptoms, and promote cyst regression.
  3. Aspiration/ Steroid Injection: Drainage or injection with steroids of a ganglion can be attempted. A ganglion frequently recurs after this.
  4. Surgery: The most definitive treatment for a wrist ganglion is surgical removal, especially if other treatments have failed or if it is causing you discomfort.

Get Expert Help

If you have wrist pain, it is important to get your wrist evaluated and perform appropriate diagnostic tests. Dr. Arthur Turow will provide personalised recommendations and guide you through your treatment process.

Please use above information as a guide only. More detailed information specific to your condition and your recovery will be given in your consultation with Dr. Arthur Turow, who will also provide additional resources to supplement your discussion. For more information, please contact the rooms of Dr. Arthur Turow on (08) 8236 4179.