Mucous cyst

What is it?

A mucous cyst is a fluid filled sac that appears near the nail bed and can occur in any finger.

It generally forms due to degeneration and arthritis of the underlying joint, where the joint fluid leaks out and forms the cyst.

What are the symptoms?

Most mucous cysts are not painful. However, they can be tender to touch and cause pain when ‘caught’ against an object.

When they become larger, they can also press on the nail bed and cause an unsightly deformity of the nail itself.

Occasionally, the cyst can burst, causing the joint fluid to leak out. Joint fluid can also leak out through a punctum on top of the cyst. This can lead to infection and sepsis of the underlying joint. If you cyst is discharging, you should seek urgent medical attention.

what is the treatment?

When mucous cysts are small, pain free and not discharging fluid, they can be observed safely without any treatment.

For larger cysts that are painful, discharging fluid or causing a nail deformity, surgical intervention is required to remove the cyst and its sac. A simple aspiration is unlikely to work as the sac isn’t removed and the fluid re-accumulates very quickly.

Surgery to remove mucous cysts is performed under local anaesthesia where only the finger is ‘numbed’. The cyst is removed completely, including the stalk that arise from the underlying joint. Any extra arthritic bone, called an ‘osteophyte’, is also removed to reduce the risk of the cyst coming back.

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Mucous Cyst

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