Ganglions and Tumours

The most common growth or nodule in the hand is a ganglion, but many other conditions can lead to a mass or lump in the hand, fingers or wrist. These need to be assessed by a hand surgeon to determine the type of tumour and whether surgery is needed. Any abnormal lump or bump in the hand or wrist is considered a tumour, be it benign or malignant. Lumps or bumps can occur on the skin, under the skin in the soft tissue or even on the bone.

What are the most common hand and wrist lumps?

Ganglion cysts are the most common bumps on the hand. These are benign fluid-filled sacs that are often found on the joint capsule, ligament or tendon. Other common causes of lumps in the hand and wrist are giant cell tumour of the tendon sheath, epidermal inclusion cysts, lipomas, neuromas, nerve sheath tumours, fibromas and glomus tumours.

A thorough examination will be needed to make a diagnosis and plan treatment, and in some cases, an X-ray may be necessary. In most cases these growths are benign and no need for concern. These lumps may, however, cause local discomfort, pain and restrict the movement of the affected hand. In such cases, surgery may be advised.

How are these lumps and growths treated?

Depending on the type of lesion and other conditions in the hand, treatment will usually entail excising the lesion. This is routinely done in theatre, and the type of anaesthetic used will depend on the location of the growth and the patient's personal preference.