The ganglion cyst is associated with a benign tumor that usually occurs in the tendons or joints of the wrists or feet. This cyst is generally round or oval and is filled with a gelatinous liquid. It has dimensions between half a centimeter and 2.5 cm. It can cause pain if it presses on a local nerve or it can affect joint movements.
The cyst can be surgically removed or the fluid inside can be removed with a syringe. Often, the ganglion cyst goes away on its own.
How Much Does Ganglion Cyst Removal Cost?
You should plan on spending anywhere between $5,500 and $8,000 for a ganglion cyst removal surgery. This cost will be influenced by some factors such as the complexity of the removal, the geographical location, and the doctor who performs this procedure. Though, you will need to undergo this procedure because most of these cysts will go away over time. Approximately 40% of the people said that their cyst disappeared in about a week.
In case you choose to remove the cyst through aspiration, which drains the cyst, then you should expect to pay anywhere between $500 and $800.
Ganglion Cyst removal details
Treatment depends on the symptoms and the stage of evolution. Small and painless cysts may not require treatment, only regular evaluation, and avoiding the overloading of the joint. If they are painful, large, or evolve over time, they need treatment. There are several treatment options for ganglion cyst:
- immobilization of the hand in the orthosis and anti-inflammatory medication can reduce pain;
- puncture evacuation of the contents of the cyst, followed by sclerosis, is a minimally invasive method, does not hurt, and does not leave scars;
- surgical treatment (surgery) involves removing the cyst and repairing the joint capsule, as well as other associated injuries (if any).
The postoperative result is good, although this pathology has a low risk of recurrence.
After a puncture or surgery, an orthosis or splint is usually applied for 14 to 21 days, and physio kinetic therapy is recommended. The activity of the hand is gradually resumed, depending on the patient’s activity.
A physical exam is needed to diagnose a ganglion cyst. Sometimes an ultrasound or MRI may be done to help with the diagnosis. This is especially true if the cysts cause symptoms such as numbness or weakness or if they are firmer or less mobile under the skin. These imaging studies can rule out diseases such as bone tumors and possibly see if a nerve is compressed by a cyst.
After your doctor has diagnosed your formation as a ganglion cyst, remember that if it does not cause you pain or interfere with your movement, treatment may not be necessary.
What are the extra costs?
An important step in the whole process of ganglion cyst removal is the pre-treatment consultation because you need to know that you really need to undergo the surgery. Most of the cysts disappear over time and you will not need any surgical intervention. It is recommended to consult your doctor for the best possible advice. Ultrasounds and/or x-rays will be taken during this consultation. Expect to pay anywhere between $280 and more than $650, without insurance, for these consultations plus the necessary tests.
For larger ganglion cysts, surgery is recommended and, in general, this is done under local or general anesthesia. Depending on the hospital, you will have to pay up to $2,300 for anesthesia alone.
The ganglion removal cost may be influenced by possible complications.
Also, there is the possibility that side effects such as bending difficulties due to some scar tissue formation, hand contraction, or stiffness, would appear. These side effects might require some kind of physical therapy or medication. These complications appear in almost 10% of the situations.
You will need a follow-up doctor visit to evaluate the progress and, in general, it is done three to four weeks after the removal procedure.
In case you want a wrist brace for the home treatment of the ganglion cyst, then you should budget anywhere between $10 and $20 for it.
Important things to consider
As the causes of ganglion cyst are not known, no preventive measures can be imposed but early evaluation is recommended. Most of the time, the ganglion cyst disappears on its own, but if an aspiration or surgery is needed, it is good to remember that these are minor surgeries with a high chance of recovery.
Avoid the following actions: do not try to remove it by pricking it with a needle or cutting it with a sharp tool. Not only is it unlikely to be effective, but it can lead to infection. Do not hit the cyst with a heavy object. An old folk remedy for a ganglion cyst was to press the cyst with a heavy object, such as a book. Not only can this treatment affect areas near the cyst, but it can also lead to recurrences and cyst infections.
Why do ganglion cysts appear?
The causes of ganglion cysts are not known. They grow from a joint or from the tissues around the joint. They can be related to repeated stress applied to a joint.
Ganglion cysts can occur in:
- young people aged between 15 and 40, mostly women;
- people who have had joint or tendon injuries, including gymnasts, who repeatedly apply stress to the wrist;
- women between the ages of 50 and 70: ganglion cysts that develop on the tip of a finger are usually associated with arthritis wear on the finger joint.
It usually does not cause any symptoms, except for those related to appearance. In some cases, however, they can cause pain, tingling, or muscle weakness if they are located in an area where they put pressure on a nerve. They can limit the movement of the joint if they are larger.
Half of the cysts might go away in time, on their own. Your doctor may recommend the following treatment options at home:
- over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen, naproxen, or ibuprofen may relieve pain;
- regular use of warm compresses can increase blood circulation and can promote fluid drainage; warm compresses, however, they will not stop the cyst from growing;
- avoiding repetitive hand movements can ease discomfort;
- if you have lymph nodes on your legs or ankles, you should pay attention to the shoes you wearș they should not come into contact with the cyst.
How can I save money?
If you choose to undergo an aspiration you should expect to see a recurrence of the cyst. However, the recurrence rate lessens over time. But multiple aspiration sessions and treatment means more money spent.
Make sure you talk with your doctor about other alternative treatment options as the surgery is not necessary all the time.
Depending on your health insurance policy, the costs of this procedure may be covered. Ask your health insurance provider about it.