Raleigh Hand to Shoulder Center in Raleigh, NC

Mucous Cyst in a Finger

What is a Mucous Cyst in a finger? 

A mucous cyst in a finger a fluid-filled sac that occurs on the finger joint closest to the nail. The cyst may thin the skin and may cause a groove to form in the nail. Most patients who develop a mucous cyst have wear and tear arthritis (osteoarthritis) of the involved joint. The cyst has a stalk that is connected to the joint. It is thought that underlying bone spurs from the arthritis weakens the joint lining allowing the cyst to form.

mucous cyst in finger

How is a Mucous Cyst in a Finger Diagnosed? 

The mucous cyst in a finger typically has a characteristic appearance, and the diagnosis is straight-forward for most hand specialists. Radiographs are usually ordered to confirm underlying arthritis of the joint and associated bone spurs.

What Are the Treatment Options for a Mucous Cyst in a finger? 

Most mucous cysts are not painful. If they are not causing pain or dysfunction, they do not require treatment. In these cases, observation for changes in the cyst is all that is needed. If a patient develops pain, recurrent drainage, or nail deformity, treatment may be indicated. Even if not painful, diagnosis should be confirmed by a physician, as other diseases may mimic a mucous cyst or ganglion cyst.

Drawing the fluid off the cyst (aspiration) is not usually recommended since there is a high recurrence rate and the procedure could lead to an infection of the joint. Aspiration and other techniques that only remove the cyst are not effective because the joint spur is still present. To adequately remove the bone spur (osteophyte), surgical treatment is required.

What is Mucous Cyst Surgery?

The surgery takes approximately 15 minutes to perform, and the patient can go home the same day of the procedure (outpatient surgery). The procedure is usually performed with a local anesthetic only which is safer and less expensive than general anesthesia. This also allows patients to have their regular meals prior to the surgery. After the surgery there will be a bandage on the involved finger and the stitches are removed at about 10-14 days.

Patient satisfaction for this surgery is very high. There is about a 5% chance the cyst will return with surgical treatment. Complications are uncommon but can include scar tenderness, infection, recurrence, and continued nail deformity.

Remove Mucous Cysts from Your Finger Safely with Our Raleigh Surgeons

Mucous cysts in your finger can be bothersome and painful. Our specialized treatments from the orthopedic surgeons at Raleigh Hand to Shoulder Center can help you get rid of mucous cysts safely and effectively. 

Regain the comfort and appearance of your finger. It’s time to take action. Get started by filling out the form on the right-hand side of this page. You can also give us a call directly using the phone call button and schedule an appointment button, both located at the top of this page.

Image provided by Raleigh Hand to Shoulder Center physicians. The material provided on this site is intended for general information only and does not constitute medical advice. The information does not replace direct evaluation by a physician.

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