How Much Does Ganglion Cyst Removal Cost?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 7, 2018

A ganglion cyst is an inflammation that emerges around tendons and joints, usually in the hand or near the foot. These cysts contain clear fluid and are most frequently seen around the wrist and even on the fingers.  The mass of this cyst varies over a time period.  Its etiology is currently unknown since these cysts are perceived to be idiopathic or have an undetermined cause.

Ganglion cyst by mor10am, on Flickr
Ganglion cyst” (CC BY 2.0) by mor10am

How much does a ganglion cyst removal cost?

The cost of ganglion cyst removal will vary anywhere from $5,000 to $7,000 if you choose surgery.  The factors that affect the price will include the doctor performing the procedure, the geographical location and the complexity of the removal.  However, most people find these cysts will go away over time, and most likely, you won’t need a medical procedure done.   Close to 40% see their cyst disappear within a week.

If an aspiration is performed, which drains the cyst, the process can cost about $450 to $750.

Ganglion cyst overview

A consultation with a doctor before the surgery is even performed.  Some doctors may shy away from the procedure as they may find that it isn’t necessary.

There are two options when it comes to ganglion cyst removal.  These options include Aspiration and Ganglionectomy. Aspiration is completed with the use of an 18 to 22mL syringe that is injected into the abnormal sac to cart off the fluid substance by suction.  It was found, however, that the aspiration procedure usually incurs a high-level repetition rate, so surgery (also known as a ganglionectomy) is the preferred and suggested treatment.   During this surgical intervention, the surgeon marks the marginal boundaries of the abnormal sac with a scalpel After the sac is cut out and entirely excised, the incision is stitched back and dressed for recovery.  Depending on the situation, most procedures will take 40 to 75 minutes to perform.

The cyst is usually easy to diagnose because they are visible and pliable to the touch.  The location can also determine if it’s a ganglion cyst.

Recovery time can be about one to two weeks, depending on your condition.

What is a ganglion cyst?

These cysts are common lumps often found on the wrist, hand and are adjacent to tendons or joints.  The most common location will be near the top of the wrist or on the palm side the wrist.  It resembles a water balloon and will be filled with a clear liquid.  The cause is unknown but can appear if there’s joint and/or tendon irritation.  These cysts are not considered cancerous and won’t spread to other areas.

What are the extra costs?

A pre-treatment consultation may mean an additional cost, but it is an important step of the process; you need to know if you actually need to undergo the surgery.  Almost one-third to half the cyst will fade away and you need not go through any minor surgical intervention.  It is always best to consult with your doctor as they are going to point you in the right direction on what is best.  During this consultation, a doctor will take x-rays and/or ultrasounds.  These consultations, along with the necessary tests, can cost around $250 to $600+ without any insurance.

A surgery for ganglion cyst removal is advised in cases of larger ganglion cysts; this treatment is generally done with either local or regional anesthesia unless circumstances call for a general anesthesia.  The kind of anesthesia can cost upwards of $2,000 depending on the hospital.

Probable complications can affect the ganglion cyst removal cost.

Possible side effects can include stiffness, hand contractions and/or bending difficulties because of some scar tissue formation.   These side effects may require medication or even some sort of physical therapy.  Complications happen in about 10% of the cases.

A follow-up appointment will be necessary to see the progress.  This is usually about three to four weeks after the procedure.

A wrist brace for a ganglion cyst, if you want one for home treatment, can cost about $7 to $15.

Tips to know

These cysts will contain synovial fluid, often found in the joints and tendons.   Close to 65% of these cysts will occur on the upper surface of the wrist, while around 256 will be on the palm of the hand.  The remaining will occur near the flexor tendon or sole of the foot.

While the cause is unknown, some indications point to trauma or the deterioration of the tissue that lines the joints.

An old adage proclaimed you could hit the cyst with a large book such as the Bible, but even if it were to get rid of the cyst, it can still reappear.  Cysts that consistently reappear often are candidates for a surgical procedure.

These cysts are most likely to occur in adults ages 20 to 50 years old, with males the most likely candidate.

To treat a ganglion cyst with essential oil, consider a blend of lemongrass, oregano, thyme and frankincense.

How long do cysts last?  Each individual will have varying results, but the average is two to eight weeks.

Ganglion cyst symptoms

A bump that appears to change in size.  It will be soft to the touch and won’t be larger than a few centimeters in diameter.

It may go away, only to come back at another time.

Pain may increase with joint motion.

If it’s connected to a tendon, you may feel a sense of weakness.

Ganglion cyst home treatment

Take anti-inflammatory painkillers

Over-the-counter painkiller can help reduce the swelling and manage the pain.  These painkillers may include Advil, Motrin, Aleve and Bayer.

Apply ice

Applying ice can also reduce the swelling and help with the pain.  Consider using a frozen bag of vegetables or an ice pack from your local pharmacy.

Consider usage

Avoid using the troubled area as much as possible.  Theories suggest an overused joint can lead to this type of cyst.

Stabilize

If you feel you can’t avoid using it, consider putting your arm in a splint if this is where the cyst is present.  Stabilizing can help with the movement, leading to less pain.

Massage it

Your cyst is a balloon of liquid, so when you press it, you’re hitting a nerve, causing pain.  Doctors recommend massaging the area to help circulate the area.

How can I save money?

It is known that the cyst’s recurrence rate is high if you chose to undergo an aspiration.  With time, however, the recurrence rate substantially lessens.  Multiple aspiration sessions or treatments mean multiple times you need to pay all the fees.

Talk with your doctor to consider alternative methods to help the cyst since surgery isn’t always deemed necessary.

Consult with your health insurance provider as many providers may cover a procedure such as this one.  This will depend on your plan.


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Average Reported Cost: $4148.25

75 %
25 %
Less Expensive $1 $1.5K $3K $5K $6.5K More Expensive $8k

How much did you spend?

Was it worth it?  

  1. Kenny Bowman (Marion,  Virginia) paid $35,000 and said:

    Had ganglion cyst surgically removed on left wrist and was charged an outlandish amount with about $30,000 just from Mountain States Health Alliance to use their facility for about 6 hours. Was told by surgeon that they get about $2,000 for their services, so MSHA received $28,000. OUCH!!!! No wonder health insurance cost are becoming outrageous. Don’t use MSHA if possible.

    Was it worth it? No

  2. Dom Coop (Franklin,  Indiana) paid $6538 and said:

    Outrageous costs inflated for insurance including double billing for ambulatory surgery, anesthesia and doctor. Sprung general surgery when I turned up at office for a local removal in Dr’s office. No prices given beforehand

    Was it worth it? Yes

  3. Joe (Gainesville,  Florida) paid $10000 and said:

    Looks like total billed will be around $10K. $9K for surgical center and $1K or so for the doc. I will be in for about $1500-$2k with insurance. The UF Health surgical center actually bills $15K, insurance allowed amount is $9K.

    Was it worth it? Yes

  4. Jim (Memphis,  Tennessee) paid $20 and said:

    After we have a couple of drinks while I soak my wrist in betadine, a friend drains the cyst on my right wrist with a needle/syringe. All it costs me is about $20.00 for the materials and about a half-pint of 90-proof. $5,000 – $7,000…give me a break!

    I play bass guitar (right-handed) and this cyst has appeared on & off for decades without any pain. The initial prick of the needle ain’t pleasant, but it’s a small price to pay for not getting screwed for the prices mentioned here.

    While I don’t recommend this procedure for everyone, it might save some a lot of money.

    Was it worth it? Yes

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