6 October: Q&A with Mr Robert Farnell

I have a lump on the top of my wrist which I think may be a ganglion.  It seems to have grown over the last few months and is starting to look unsightly.  

Is surgery the only way to remove it and if so what does it involve?

Mr Robert Farnell, Consultant Orthpaedic Surgeon specialisting in hand and wrist replies;

A ganglion is a benign cyst containing a thick jelly-like substance. They are commonly found in the wrist but they can also occur in the fingers.

A ganglion often fluctuates in size, and may feel very firm and be mistaken for a bony growth. Some ganglions are uncomfortable, whilst others do not cause symptoms but can be unsightly.
It is possible for your ganglion to spontaneously disappear without any treatment.

If it is not causing any problems and you can tolerate the appearance, it is reasonable to wait and see what happens. It is reasonable to remove the lump by inserting a needle using local anaesthetic and sucking out (aspirating) the jelly content. The ganglion unfortunately commonly returns.

Surgery is the treatment most likely to permanently remove the lump. It is a relatively simple procedure performed as a day-case using either general or regional anaesthesia (the arm is numbed). You will usually have a bandage for two weeks after the operation, but you should be able to use your hand so long as it is kept dry. The operation will leave you with a permanently visible scar, although this will fade with time.

Even after surgery there remains a risk of the lump returning up to 20% of people. More detailed information is available at www.yourhands.co.uk

Find a treatment, test or scan available at:


Find a consultant

Use one or more of the options below to search for a consultant and link through to view their Spire profile.


Let us help you

fill out this form and we will get back to you:

Please select a hospital

We can call you

Please enter your details below and we will call you back.

What is the aim of your enquiry?

Please select a hospital

If we are unable to reach you by phone, please include your email address so that we can get in touch...

Mr Robert Farnell

Mr Robert Farnell, consultant hand and wrist surgeon, Spire Leeds Hospital, Roundhay, Leeds

Mr Robert Farnell, Consultant Hand and Wrist surgeon, Spire Leeds Hospital

What's up Doc? is brought to you in association with

The material published on this page is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the professional medical advice of your doctor or other health care professional.

Click here for the full What's Up Doc? Consultant Q&A archive

© Spire Healthcare Group plc (2016)