09/02/2011 - Questions and Answers

Synovial Cyst: What is Synovial Cyst? How is it treated?

By: Mark Castleden

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Synovial Cyst: What is Synovial Cyst? How is it treated?

Question

Could you please tell me something about synovial cysts. My husband has one on his index finger. We don't know if this is serious, and who we should go to to remove it - a plastic surgeon? How I can get information about synovial cyst?

Answer

What is Synovial Cyst:
Synovial cysts are fluid-filled cysts that come from a joint. The index finger cyst that you describe can also occur in a variety of places.

The most common type is called a mucous cyst, and it usually occurs right near the base of the fingernail, and can sometimes even deform the nailplate. This usually comes from an arthritic distal interphalangeal joint (which is the last joint on the fingers).

These cysts are not usually painful, but they are often removed due to their unsightly appearance, or because they may drain clear fluid and can occasionally become infected.

One type of synovial cyst can also occur around the proximal interphalangeal joint (the joint between the knuckles and the farthest joint). These are much less common.

Another type - volar retinacular cysts - arise from the flexor tendon sheath at the palm side of the base of the index finger. These can cause a 'trigger finger'(flexor tendonitis).

Synovial cyst treatment:
Synovial cysts should usually be removed by a hand surgeon, who might be an orthopedic or a plastic surgeon. The majority of full-time dedicated hand surgeons in the USA have trained in orthopedic surgery with a subspecialty fellowship in hand and microvascular surgery. It is a simple ambulatory procedure, performed under local anesthesia with some light sedation.

Links

  • Omni: Synovial Cysts
Created on: 08/23/2001
Reviewed on: 09/02/2011

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Anonymous wrote 2 years 13 weeks ago

I still am not convinced this is a cyst..I have no discomfort from this thing on my right forefinger knuckle but boy is it ugly ...and growing

Anonymous wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

I have two synovial cysts on the last joint of my little finger and I am almost certain that they are a result of a very sharp bang received on the joint about a month earlier. I am interested to know if this has happened to anyone else or do any practitioners recognise this possibility as opposed to an arthritic cause which I do not think applies in my case.
16/07/2009 - Ted Palmer - UK

Anonymous wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

Ted,
The same thing happened to me. I banged my small finger on a metal object and the cyst appeared with in a few days. I had it checked out and they told me that the only way to get rid of it was to have it operated on.
07/19/2009 Mike