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Ganglion Removal

Ganglion Removal

Ganglion cysts stand out as a common issue that, while often harmless, can lead to discomfort and limit your daily activities. The solution to this problem, particularly when non-invasive methods fail to provide relief, is ganglion removal. This surgical intervention is designed to remove these cysts, thereby alleviating discomfort and restoring function to the affected areas.

At a glance

Procedure Time
Depends on the type of procedure perfomed
Procedure Anaesthesia
Local or general anaesthesia
Procedure Downtime
A few days

Table of Contents

What is Ganglion Removal?

Ganglion removal, known medically as ganglionectomy, refers to the surgical process aimed at eliminating ganglion cysts. These cysts are benign lumps, most commonly found on the wrists, hands, or feet, and are characterised by their fluid-filled nature. Despite their benign nature, ganglion cysts can cause a range of uncomfortable symptoms, including pain, swelling, and an impeded range of motion, which can affect your ability to carry out everyday tasks and engage in physical activities.

The presence of a ganglion cyst is typically noticeable due to a visible lump, which may fluctuate in size over time. Some individuals experience a sensation of pressure or discomfort, particularly when using the joint near where the cyst has formed. In certain cases, the cyst can press against a nerve, leading to more pronounced pain or tingling sensations, further motivating the consideration for surgical removal.

The primary aim of ganglion removal surgery is not just to remove the visible lump but also to alleviate any associated symptoms that might be impacting your quality of life. The procedure is relatively straightforward and is often performed on an outpatient basis, meaning you won’t need to stay in the hospital overnight. It involves making an incision over the site of the cyst, through which Anca can access and remove the cyst, along with a portion of the joint capsule or tendon sheath, to discourage its recurrence.

Who Needs Ganglion Removal?

Ganglion removal surgery becomes a consideration for individuals whose daily lives are impacted by the symptoms associated with ganglion cysts. Although these cysts are non-cancerous and, in some cases, can disappear on their own, the decision to proceed with surgery usually comes down to a few critical factors:

  • Persistent Pain and Discomfort: If the ganglion cyst causes continuous pain or discomfort that interferes with daily activities or sleep, surgical removal may be advised. The level of pain is not necessarily related to the size of the cyst; even smaller cysts can press on nerves, causing significant discomfort.
  • Impaired Functionality: Those who experience a reduction in joint mobility or difficulty in performing tasks that require fine motor skills might be ideal candidates. This impairment often motivates the need for surgical intervention to restore full functionality.
  • Ineffectiveness of Non-Surgical Treatments: Candidates often include individuals for whom conservative treatments, such as aspiration or the use of splints and anti-inflammatory medications, have not provided relief. In such cases, surgery may be the next step to consider.
  • Aesthetic Concerns: In some instances, individuals may opt for removal due to the cyst’s appearance, especially if it is in a visible location and causes feelings of self-consciousness.
  • Recurrent Cysts: Those who have experienced recurrent ganglion cysts, despite previous attempts at non-surgical management, may also be candidates for surgical removal to potentially reduce the likelihood of future recurrence.

Benefits of the Ganglion Removal Procedure

Choosing to have the ganglion removal procedure is a decision influenced by the desire to alleviate the discomfort and limitations caused by ganglion cysts. The surgery offers several potential benefits, impacting both physical capabilities and overall satisfaction with one’s quality of life.

Alleviation of Pain and Discomfort

The most immediate benefit you notice following ganglion removal is the relief from pain and discomfort. Ganglion cysts, particularly those that press against nerves or are located in areas of frequent movement, can cause significant discomfort. Surgical removal of the cyst addresses this pain at its source, offering a direct solution to this issue.

Restoration of Function and Mobility

Ganglion cysts can impede the normal range of motion of the affected joint, making everyday tasks challenging and limiting physical activity. Following successful surgery and recovery, you can expect a restoration of function and mobility, allowing for a return to daily activities, hobbies, and sports that were previously hindered by the presence of the cyst.

Decrease in Recurrence Rates

While non-surgical treatments like aspiration may offer temporary relief, they often carry a higher risk of the cyst returning. Surgical removal, especially when it includes the excision of the cyst’s root or the involved joint capsule, tends to result in lower recurrence rates, offering a more permanent solution for those affected by recurrent cysts.

Improvement in Aesthetic Appearance

For some, the presence of a ganglion cyst can be a cosmetic concern, especially if it’s located in a highly visible area. The removal of the cyst can thus provide psychological and aesthetic benefits, enhancing one’s comfort and confidence in their appearance.

Types of Procedures for Ganglion Removal

Open Surgery

Open surgery is the more traditional approach to ganglion removal and involves making a larger incision directly over the cyst. This method allows Anca comprehensive access to the cyst, facilitating its complete removal along with a part of the joint capsule or tendon sheath, which is often involved in the formation of the cyst. This procedure is particularly beneficial for larger cysts or those situated in locations that are challenging to reach with less invasive techniques.

One of the primary advantages of open surgery is the lower chance of the cyst recurring, due to the thorough removal of the cyst and associated structures. However, this method may result in a longer recovery period and a more significant scar, compared to minimally invasive techniques.

Arthroscopic Surgery

Arthroscopic surgery represents a minimally invasive alternative to open surgery and is increasingly preferred for certain types of ganglion cysts, especially those located near joints. This technique involves making small incisions through which a tiny camera (arthroscope) and surgical instruments are inserted. The camera provides Anca with a clear view of the cyst and surrounding structures on a monitor, allowing for precise removal of the cyst with minimal impact on surrounding tissues.

The key benefits of arthroscopic surgery include a shorter recovery time, less postoperative discomfort, and minimal scarring. This technique is particularly appealing for patients concerned about the aesthetic outcome of the surgery and those looking to return to their daily activities as quickly as possible.

How is the Ganglion Removal Performed

Ganglion removal surgery, whether through open or arthroscopic methods, is designed with the primary aim of eliminating the cyst and alleviating any associated symptoms. The choice of procedure depends on various factors, including the cyst’s location, size, and your specific circumstances. Here’s a closer look at what the process entails for both surgical options:

Open Surgery Process

  • Preparation: Initially, you’ll be prepared for surgery, which may involve administering a local, regional, or general anaesthetic, depending on the complexity of the surgery and your comfort.
  • Incision: Anca makes an incision over the cyst, which is carefully planned to allow for the best access while minimising visible scarring.
  • Removal: With direct access to the cyst, Anca delicately separates the cyst from the surrounding tissues. She may also remove a portion of the joint capsule or tendon sheath to reduce the risk of recurrence.
  • Closure: Once the cyst is completely removed, the incision is closed with sutures. In some cases, a drain may be placed to prevent fluid accumulation.
  • Recovery: A bandage or splint is applied to protect the area, and instructions are given for post-operative care, including pain management and when to resume activities.

Arthroscopic Surgery Process

  • Preparation: Similar to open surgery, the preparation involves administering an appropriate anaesthetic to ensure comfort throughout the procedure.
  • Incision and Insertion: Anca makes one or more small incisions near the cyst. Through these incisions, a tiny camera (arthroscope) and specialised surgical instruments are inserted.
  • Cyst Removal: The camera provides a clear view of the inside of the joint and the cyst. Using the images transmitted to a monitor, Anca uses special tools to carefully remove the cyst and, if necessary, a portion of the surrounding structures.
  • Closure and Recovery: The small incisions are closed with sutures or adhesive strips, and a bandage is applied. Recovery instructions, including care for the incision site and managing discomfort, are provided.

When it comes to addressing ganglion cysts through surgical intervention, there are primarily two types of procedures that Anca may recommend, based on the cyst’s location, size, and your overall health and specific needs. Understanding the distinctions between these methods is important for making an informed decision about which option might be best suited to your situation. The two type are Open Surgery Process and Arthroscopic Surgery Process.

Recovery after Ganglion Removal Procedure

The recovery period following a ganglion removal procedure varies from person to person, influenced by factors such as the type of surgery performed, your overall health and your adherence to post-operative care instructions. Here’s an outline of what you can generally expect during the recovery process, along with tips for ensuring a smooth and effective healing period:

Immediate Post-Operative Period

In the first few days after surgery, managing pain and preventing infection are the primary concerns. You may be prescribed pain relief medications and given specific instructions on how to care for the surgical site. It’s important to keep the area clean and dry, and you might need to return to the hospital or clinic to have stitches removed or to assess the healing progress.

Use of Bandages or Splints

A bandage or splint is typically applied immediately after the surgery to protect the area and support healing. Depending on the location of the cyst and the type of surgery, you may be advised to wear this protective covering for 1 to 2 weeks. It’s important to follow Anca’s advice on how long to keep the area immobilised to ensure optimal healing.

Activity and Exercise

You’ll likely be encouraged to start gentle activities a few days after the surgery to promote circulation and prevent stiffness. However, it’s important to avoid strenuous activities or putting pressure on the affected area until Anca advises that it’s safe to do so. A physical therapist may provide you with specific exercises to gradually restore strength and flexibility without risking injury to the healing tissues.

Monitoring for Complications

Throughout the recovery process, it’s vital to be vigilant for signs of complications, such as increased pain, redness, swelling, or discharge from the incision site, which could indicate infection. Additionally, any numbness or tingling sensations should be reported to Anca as these could be signs of nerve involvement.

Long-Term Care

Complete recovery and the full return of function can take several weeks to months. During this time, adhering to your Anca’s advice and attending follow-up appointments are essential to monitor your progress and address any concerns. It’s also an opportunity to discuss the potential for cyst recurrence and strategies for minimising this risk.

Tips for a Successful Recovery

  • Follow Post-Operative Instructions: Adhere strictly to the guidelines provided by your healthcare team, including wound care, medication usage, and when to resume activities.
  • Rest and Elevate: Give your body the time it needs to heal by resting and, when advised, elevating the affected limb to reduce swelling.
  • Stay Active Within Limits: Engage in approved activities and exercises to maintain mobility and strength, but avoid overexertion.
  • Nutrition and Hydration: Support your body’s healing process with a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals, and stay well-hydrated.
  • Communicate with Your Healthcare Provider: Report any unusual symptoms or concerns during your recovery, and keep all scheduled follow-up appointments.


Patient satisfaction is the top priority for Anca. You can find how patients feel about her work below.

How Much Is Ganglion Removal in the UK

The cost of ganglion removal in the UK can vary based on factors such as the location of the clinic, the complexity of the procedure, and whether it is performed under local or general anaesthesia. Typically, the price for this surgical procedure in a private healthcare setting ranges from £1,200 to £2,500. This fee usually covers the surgical removal of the ganglion cyst, the use of the clinic’s facilities, and the surgeon’s fee. In some cases, the price might also include any necessary follow-up appointments. It’s important for patients to check if additional costs might apply for diagnostic tests or post-operative care.

Further Reading



Frequently asked questions

While ganglion removal is generally considered a safe and effective procedure, like all surgical interventions, it carries certain risks and potential complications. One of the most common risks associated with any surgery is the possibility of infection at the incision site. Symptoms of an infection may include increased redness, swelling, warmth, and discharge, often accompanied by fever. Infections can usually be treated effectively with antibiotics, but it’s important to catch them early to prevent more serious complications. Because ganglion cysts often form near nerves, there’s a risk of nerve damage during surgery. This can result in numbness, tingling, or weakness in the affected area. Although this is typically temporary, more severe nerve damage can lead to long-term sensory or motor deficits. Following surgery, you may experience stiffness in the affected joint or tendon, particularly if you do not follow through with recommended rehabilitation exercises. Scar tissue can also develop, potentially affecting the movement of tendons and joints, though this is less common with minimally invasive procedures.

The surgery itself is not painful due to the anaesthesia used during the procedure. After the surgery, you may experience some discomfort or soreness in the area, which can typically be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers or prescribed medications. Anca will advise on the best pain management strategy for your individual case.

Preparation for ganglion removal surgery may involve several steps, including fasting for a certain period before the surgery if general anaesthesia is used. You may also be asked to stop taking certain medications or supplements that could affect bleeding or anaesthesia

Because ganglion removal surgery often involves the use of anaesthesia, you will likely be advised not to drive immediately after the procedure. It’s important to arrange for someone to drive you home from the hospital or clinic. Your ability to drive in the days following the surgery will depend on the location of the cyst, the type of anaesthesia used, and your overall recovery.

Before considering surgery, less invasive treatments may be recommended, such as aspiration, where the fluid is drained from the cyst with a needle. Immobilisation of the affected area with a splint or brace can also help reduce discomfort and allow the cyst to decrease in size. These alternatives may be appropriate for individuals who have less severe symptoms or for whom surgery poses significant risks.

Ganglion removal surgery is generally very effective in removing the cyst and alleviating associated symptoms, such as pain and restricted movement. While there is a risk of recurrence, surgical removal has a lower recurrence rate compared to non-surgical treatments. The effectiveness of the surgery can depend on factors such as the completeness of the cyst removal and the individual’s healing process. Anca can provide more detailed information based on your specific condition and the surgical approach chosen.

About Anca Breahna – Consultant Plastic Surgeon

top UK cosmetic surgeon anca breahnaMs Anca Breahna, PhD, MSc, FEBOPRAS, FRCS (Plast) is a highly regarded Consultant Plastic Surgeon specialising in the field of Aesthetic and Reconstructive Plastic Surgery. Anca performs a range of breast, body and face surgery and minor skin procedures.

As one of the very few female Plastic Surgeons in her region, she is able to offer that unique female perspective, with empathy, attention to detail and personalised care.

Anca Breahna’s surgical training has been largely undertaken within the United Kingdom. She began a rigorous training programme in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in 1999, after achieving her medical degree from the University of Bucharest. Miss Breahna attained her PhD degree at the same university in 2007 for her medical research. She then relocated to the UK to further extend her qualifications and training.

Anca’s NHS practice is now focused on Breast Reconstructive Surgery, Skin Cancer Surgery, Hand Surgery and soft tissue reconstruction. Over the last 15 years, through her pursuit of further training and education, Anca has developed a special interest and expert practical experience in a range of Aesthetic Breast and Body Surgery.

It is Anca’s true dedication and commitment to her field, that sets her aside from her peers. Her extensive surgical training means that you are in safe hands. She is renowned for providing exceptional care, support and helping achieve realistic goals for her patients.

Anca will treat you in a straightforward manner, with respect, consideration and empathy to ensure you are comfortable with your choice.



Your Next Steps

Do your Research

  • Please read our website pages and blogs to learn more about your intended procedure.
  • All Surgery has risks and potential complications. Please read more about the risks of your surgery.

Making The Most Of Your Consultation

  • A Medical Referral from your Doctor before your consultation is not compulsory however  it is recommended.
  • Please arrive slightly early for your in-person consultation with Anca – Car parking is available on-site at all hospitals.
  • You are welcome to bring a friend or relative to help consider the information and discuss your options.
  • Please be aware you may need to undress for a physical exam so wear simple clothes.
  • Ensure you also take a lot of notes during the consultation and thoroughly read all the documents provided.

Want more information before scheduling your consultation?

Please call to find out more about availability, pricing and medical payment plans or to request more information about the procedure, contact us.

How to Book your Consultation with Anca Breahna – Plastic Surgeon

You can book your consultation with Anca by paying the £150 cosmetic consultation fee when you make your appointment. This fee covers further consultations about the same concern.

Contact Anca’s Team

Call Claire on 0800 080 6026 or Joedy on 03332 244111 to arrange your consultation or email us for more information.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

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