The procedure | Ganglion

A ganglion is a benign swelling in the fingers or the wrist, usually originating in tendonsheets or joint capsula’s. The swelling may limit the function and can be painful. Depending on the size, taking it out will be done under local or general anaesthetic.

Where will I be operated?

If an operation is the best option in your case, then this will be performed in the fully equipped operating theatre at the Radetzky villa.

What can I expect of the operation?

The operation will be performed under either local or general anaesthetic and will take approximately 10 to 20 minutes. Your surgeon will always see you before the operation and will talk you through the steps. The procedure will start by prepping and draping of your lower arm and hand. Markings will be made and your arm will be elevated in order to reduce the amount of blood inside. Then a band around your upper arm will inflate tightly to prevent blood from running through your arm for the period of the operation. Your surgeon will use a precise electric devise to stop any bleeding that may occur and will use a suture to close the wound.

What are the risks?

Removal of a ganglion is considered to be a low risk procedure. The most common complications are postoperative bleeding, infection or scar reactions. In some cases this may lead to prolonged recovery. Luckily these complications only seldom occur.

What can I expect after the operation?

Your hand will be bandaged for 24 hours, during which time regular elevation – with your hand being higher than the elbow – is wise. When the anaesthetic wears off you may experience some slight discomfort. In the first few days healing will include some swelling and (variably) some restricted movements. These should however gradually disappear, as you are encouraged to use your hand as normal as possible. If sutures need to be removed, this will be done after 1 to 2 weeks.

What will the scars be like?

The scar will be limited and will run at the site of the swelling. It will be slightly red for the first few months. Eventually the colour will even out. Typically a scar will take one year to fully mature and in the majority of cases the scar, although present, should not be on the foreground anymore by that time.

How long before I can resume my normal life?

Most people manage to return to light activities in the first few days after surgery. At one to two weeks after surgery a follow-up appointment will be made for you at the Radetzky villa. From then on you are allowed to do everything again. However, please listen to your body though; pain is a protective mechanism, so if certain movements are painful please do not overdo them.

What is good to know about the long term?

A ganglion is the result of a weak spot in a capsular structure of either a tendon or a joint. The treatment will focus on the site where the trouble resides. At a later date swellings (at other locations) may (re)occur, which may necessitate further treatment.
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