Young medical professional hands holding older hand.

A ganglion is a mass that often arises from a joint space in the wrist or hand. They are usually soft and contain jelly-like fluid. There may be pain that is caused by certain movements of the joints.

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Is this surgery right for me?

There are different treatments for a ganglion. The first stage might include resting that particular hand or wearing a splint. This may be all that is required to relieve your symptoms. If you have tried conservative management or it is not an option for you, then you may be interested in aspiration of the ganglion combined with a steroid injection, or surgery (excision of the ganglion).

All of the therapies aim to achieve the same goal – to avoid the tendon catching on the pulley. At Tailored Plastic Surgery, we discuss this with you and aim to help guide you with your decision making process.

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Relaxed hands held up palms facing outward.

What does the procedure
journey look like?

To begin your journey at Tailored Plastic Surgery, you will typically have an initial consultation to discuss your goals and see how we can help you. After a second consultation and a cooling-off period of one week, if you wish to proceed, we will schedule the surgery on a date that suits you. We will discuss the steps you need to take in the lead-up to your surgery, and also on the day of your procedure.

After the procedure, you will likely have a dressing on the wound which should be kept clean and dry. Specific instructions will be given to you after the procedure. You may experience some discomfort a number of hours after the procedure once the effects of the local anaesthetic wear off, and these are usually easily addressed with pain medications that can be purchased over the counter at supermarkets or pharmacies. You should be able to go home on the same day.

You should be able to return to work within one or two weeks depending on what your regular occupation is. We advise against strenuous physical activity and exercise within the first two weeks.

Four phases of plastic surgery journey. Phase 1: 1 hour consultation to discuss goals. Phase 2: Book and prepare for your surgery. Phase 3: 1 day, the procedure. Phase 4: 6-8 weeks post surgery, the recovery.

Procedure Risks

Ganglion removal is a surgical procedure performed to remove a ganglion cyst, a fluid-filled sac that typically develops near joints or tendons. In addition to general surgery risks, there are some potential procedure-specific risks and complications involved, including:


As with any surgical procedure, there is a risk of infection. Following proper postoperative care instructions and maintaining good hygiene can help minimise this risk.

Nerve or Blood Vessel Injury:

During the removal of a ganglion cyst, there is a small risk of inadvertently damaging nearby nerves or blood vessels. This can result in temporary or, rarely, permanent sensory changes, weakness, or vascular complications.


Ganglion cysts have a tendency to recur after surgical removal. The cyst may reform in the same location or develop in a different area nearby. Regular follow-up appointments with your surgeon can help monitor the area and detect any potential recurrence.

Still unsure? Here are some FAQs..

Can I have ganglion surgery if I haven’t tried non-surgical treatments first?

At Tailored Plastic Surgery, we believe that everyone’s journey is unique to them, and therefore, what may work for one person may not be appropriate for another. We will discuss your concerns and goals with you, and then work on a treatment pathway together with you, to best help you in your particular circumstances.

Will I have a scar?

Any time you have surgery that affects all the layers of the skin, a scar is formed. At Tailored Plastic Surgery, we are experienced in techniques that aim to both minimise any scarring, as well as hide the scarring in less noticeable places.

Is there anything I should do before my appointment?

Before your appointment, you may wish to try non-operative treatments, including wearing a splint. You might also have trialled aspiration with a steroid injection, but you do not need to have trialled non-operative treatments before coming to your appointment.