That sac-like swelling may be harmless

When you develop ganglion tumor, a swelling on joint or tendon you should not worry.This sac-like swelling filled with a clear-jellylike fluid that often appears as a bump on hands and wrists, is painless and harmless.

When you develop ganglion tumor, a swelling on joint or tendon you should not worry.This sac-like swelling filled with a clear-jellylike fluid that often appears as a bump on hands and wrists, is painless and harmless.

The ganglions are believed to be caused by overuse of a specific joint.

Dr Edgar Kalimba, a doctor at King Faisal says ganglions are especially common in people who perform repetitive or strenuous activity, with the wrist. He cites weight lifters, rowers, waiters, milkers, tennis, golf players and guitarists as some people prone to ganglions.

Ganglions may grow as activity increases, because more fluid collects in the sac.

Managing ganglions

The size of the swelling also commonly known as ‘bible bump’ can vary over time, often becoming more inflamed if irritated. One traditional method of treating a ganglion tumor was to strike the lump with a large, heavy book, causing the cyst to rupture and drain into the surrounding tissues.

Since even the poorest households often possessed a Bible, ganglion cysts was nicknamed ‘bible bumps’ or ‘Gideon’s Disease’.

With surgery, the recurrence rate is reduced to only 5 to 10 per cent if it is fully taken out. Most surgeons perform this operation under local anaesthetic where by you will be awake during the operation, but will not feel any pain in your wrist. A cut is made in the skin that is at least as wide as the lump.

The ganglion is then removed. After, the skin wound stitched and bandaged. Usually the wound is not painful, though one feels some discomfort.

Precautions

If you have problems with your blood pressure, heart, or lungs, make sure they are under control. While some people believe that ganglion cysts are hereditary, doctor Kalimba has dismisses the conviction.

“Anyone can get a ganglion. Adults between 15 and 40 years are most prone to ganglions. Women are affected three times as often as men”, he said.

Children do not usually have ganglions, but if they do, it is likely to disappear without getting any treatment.

Dr. Kalimba warns that as much as ganglions may be tender to the touch, sometimes there can be pain, which increases with activity or pressure.

“This is because the ganglion puts pressure on the nerves that pass near the joint. This pressure on the nerves may also cause tingling in the fingers, hand, or forearm. Some ganglions can weaken your grip or affect joint motion,” he explains.

Jeanne Uwase has had a ganglion that appears and disappears repeatedly and she believes they (ganglions) usually do not need treatment as they often disappear on their own. According to her, if a ganglion is painful, limit activity and massage it to reduce the fluid within the bump.

A ganglion can spontaneously rupture  and disappear. Other treatment options include removal of the ganglion fluid with a needle and syringe (aspiration).

If you have opted for the minor surgery under local anaesthetic, complications are rare and seldom serious but one can have a minor infection in the area of the operation which can be settled by taking antibiotics for a few days.

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