Finger Bump

There are many reasons for bumps, cysts and masses in the fingers.  I have previous blogged HERE on some of these growths.  There is another common finger bump that should be discussed, the retinacular cyst.  The retinacular cyst is a type of cyst- a fluid filled sac- that grows from the flexor tendon sheath.

Here are a link that explain the general concepts of a ganglion cyst
Hand Society Explanation of Ganglion Cyst

Retinacular cysts can affect patients of any age.  These cysts appear as a pea- sized bump, where the finger meets the hand.  The are really a nuisance and usually cause pain with grasping (such as the steering wheel or a hammer).  Pressure causes discomfort as well.  As noted in the article by Hutchinson and Wang, these can disappear or resolve with time.  But in some patients, the cysts don’t go away and do cause pain.  In those patients (a minority), treatment is a reasonable option.  This can include aspiration (sucking fluid out of cyst) or surgical excision.  Aspiration has been proven cost effective but is a challenge in kids.

Article by Wang and Hutchinson.  This article reviews ganglion cysts in the hand in children (7 were retinacular cysts).  Most resolved and typically within a year.

Surgery is simple and safe with a removal of the cyst off of the flexor tendon sheath.  The nerves and arteries are typically safe as the cyst is usually fairly central (in the middle of the finger).  When required, this is a satisfying surgery.

Article by Jebsen and Spencer.  This article reviews the outcomes after surgery for the retinacular cyst and reports very good results.

Retinacular cyst in the typical location at the base of the finger.  See the small cyst deep in the incision.

Charles A. Goldfarb, MD

My Bio at Washington University

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