created by: Arthur M. Sharkey, M.D.

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What is a Mucous Cyst?

Mucous cysts space small, fluid-filled bag that type on the fingers and usually construct in patients 50 to 70 years of age. The mucous cyst usually appears at the share nearest come the fingernail, referred to as the distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint, and also can be discovered on the ignorance or on any kind of of the other fingers. That presents as a small, sometimes painful, nodule in the DIP joint area. Many patients who develop a mucous cyst have wear and tear arthritis or osteoarthritis that the involved joint.

What causes a Mucous Cyst?

As the mucous cyst grows, that will frequently have a clear appearance because of the nature of the fluid-like product in her joints dubbed synovial fluid. The mucous cyst occurs due to “kissing” osteophytes or bone spur in the area of the emboldened joints. This is pertained to osteoarthritis typically present in these joints. The “kissing” osteophytes or bone spurs puncture the capsule the the joint, causing clear fluid from the joint surface to leak right into the neighboring tissues. The organization then form a difficult capsule known as a cyst roughly this fluid. The cyst commonly grows in the direction of the area the the nail fold where nail plate development occurs. Frequently, a nail deformity will kind in the an ar of the mucous cyst due to it pressing on the nail matrix. A mucous cyst can often be directly visualized in the region due to thinning of the skin.


An Orthopaedic hand specialist will very first ask because that a background of the problem and examine the patient’s fingers. One X-ray of the finger might be required to display degeneration regarded osteoarthritis in the DIP joint area. This contains bone spurs and also joint space narrowing. A patient may additionally have Heberden’s nodes, which are the bumps developed by osteophytes or bones spurs developing from in the finger.

Treatment choices for Mucous Cysts

Treatment because that mucous cysts may either it is in nonsurgical or surgical. Nonsurgical treatment for mucous cysts consists of observation by an Orthopaedic hand specialist. However, sometimes a mucous cyst will certainly rupture. When a rupture occurs, it create a path directly from the skin right into the joint whereby bacteria have the right to enter and also cause a serious infection. For this reason, a mucous cyst must never it is in punctured in ~ home because of the danger of contamination or infection of the joint area. Surgery is encourage if the patience feels significant pain or if the cyst and also skin appear ready come rupture.

Surgical treatment commonly requires outpatient surgical reconstruction with an cut (removal) the the cyst. This procedure entails a trimming and smoothing of the “kissing” osteophytes or bone spurs, so the capsule might heal bordering the joint. If the skin top top the finger is too very closely attached to the cyst, a tiny piece of the skin may need to be removed from the finger. In this situation, a little skin graft is necessary. Surgery deserve to usually be performed using local anesthesia, definition only the finger is numbed through lidocaine. The surgery lasts about one-half hour and is done together an outpatient procedure. The procedure has a relatively straightforward postoperative course.

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Rehabilitation because that Mucous Cyst Surgery

If a mucous cyst is operation removed, a patient’s hand therapist will certainly make a splint for the finish of thefinger. The patient will certainly then progress through range-of-motion exercises end a two week period. Various other than part soreness in the area the the finger through pinch or understand activity, healing is fairly straightforward. The sutures room removed about 10 work after surgery and normal activities are usually resumed 2 to 3 weeks after surgery.Complications are rare however could include infection or progressive arthritis which can require a fusion of the joint. The nail deformity typically resolves gradually with the treatment of the mucous cyst.


Dr. Arthur M. Sharkey is plank Certified in basic Surgery and Plastic and Reconstructive surgery with added qualifications in Hand Surgery. Dr. Sharkey attended clinical school in ~ the college of Illinois, where he also completed his residency in general Surgery. He completed his residency in Plastic surgery at St. Luigi University, followed by fellowship maintain in Hand surgical procedure at Christine M. Kleinert Institute because that Hand and Microsurgery in Louisville, KY. Dr. Sharkey is an energetic member of the American society for Plastic and also Reconstructive Surgery.