Surgical Information – Procedures

Digital Mucous Cyst Excision

What is digital mucous cyst excision?

Digital mucous cyst excision is a procedure to remove a digital mucous cyst – a small, benign growth at the end joint of a finger or under the nail bed. In this outpatient procedure, the surgeon makes a small incision over the cyst, excises it, examines the joint and removes any bone spurs that may have formed. The area is then sutured. If the cyst has thinned the overlying skin, a flap of skin sometimes has to be stretched to cover the defect left from the cyst removal.

Anatomy

Each finger has three joints. The last joint of the finger is called the distal interphalangeal joint, or DIP. Digital mucous cysts form at this joint and most commonly affect the index finger of the dominant hand, though any finger can be affected

When is surgery recommended?

Most digital mucous cysts are asymptomatic and do not require treatment. Many cysts disappear spontaneously. If the cyst is painful, conservative therapies such as heat or steroid cream may help relieve symptoms. If symptoms persist, your doctor may recommend a simple aspiration procedure. A needle is inserted into the cyst and the fluid is drained. In some cases, a corticosteroid is injected into the cyst to treat it.If these measures fail to bring relief, surgery to remove the cyst may be necessary.

What is the recovery time?

Patients wear a light dressing for several days following surgery and begin gentle active range of motion within a few days to prevent stiffness. Sutures are removed after two weeks and most patients are able to resume normal activities within several weeks.

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