Hand Tumours: Ganglions, Cysts, and Others
Several types of tumours grow on the hands and wrists and they can all be usually surgically excised by a hand surgeon. The word “tumour” does not necessarily mean cancer. A tumour is any tissue mass that grows abnormally, and this includes both malignant and benign tumours. In fact, most tumours of the hand are benign in nature.
Some of the common tumours of the hand include ganglion cysts, giant cell tendon sheath tumours, epidermal inclusion cysts, among others and they can come in any shape or size. Warts and moles are technically also tumours, however, they arise in the skin and not exclusively in the hand itself, so we won’t be discussing them here.
The surgical excision of hand tumours is usually simple and curative. Dr. Mark Gittos in Auckland, New Zealand is a plastic surgeon and hand surgery expert. He offers surgical and non-surgical treatment for the different types of hand tumours.
Types of hand tumours
- Ganglion cysts are frequent hand tumours that predominantly appear near the wrist or at the base of the fingers. They are fluid-filled hard masses that can be felt under the skin and may grow to cause a bulge. They are usually round and firm and do not cause any pain when palpated. Since these tumours are harmless in most cases, your doctor might recommend only observation. If you wish to have a ganglion cyst removed, Dr. Mark can either surgically excise the tumour or use a needle to drain the fluid out and shrink it.
Giant cell tumour of the tendon sheath
- These tumours arise in the tendon sheath, which is the tissue surrounding the tendons in your hands and wrist. In contrast to ganglion cysts, giant cell tumours of the tendon sheath are solid and not fluid-filled. They tend to grow slowly and are completely benign.
Epidermal inclusion cyst
- This type of hand tumour is also completely benign. Many times, this growth appears somewhere on the hand or finger where you had a previous puncture or cut wound. The tumour usually contains a waxy fluid that consists of keratin.
Other hand tumour types
- Less common tumour types that can grow in your hand include lipomas (fatty tumours), neuromas (nerve tumours), fibromas, and others. Nearly all of these tumours are benign.
- Dupuytren’s contracture might sometimes cause the thickened tendons in your palm to look and feel like a true tumour. Nevertheless, these contractures are not technically tumoural growths and are a whole independent disease entity. Dr. Mark also offers evaluation and treatment for Dupuytren’s contracture as well.
Diagnosis of Hand Tumours
Dr. Mark will start by asking you a few questions about your symptoms, medical history, life habits, and home medications. He will then examine your hands and compare them to each other. Dr. Mark will palpate the mass and try to predict its origin. In some cases, he might order further testing to confirm the diagnosis before surgery. X-ray, CT, and MRI, are all imaging tests that might be ordered to see the tumour and better assess its nature. In some cases, he might perform a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis if there’s any doubt.
Treatment of Hand Tumours
Most hand tumours can be observed and do not require treatment, however, if you find them cosmetically unappealing or if they’re causing you discomfort, Dr. Mark can offer you the necessary surgical treatment. Another reason why surgery might be recommended is if the tumour is changing in size, which might indicate cancerous potential.
Surgical removal of hand tumours can be done under local or general anesthesia. Local anesthesia means that you will be awake during the procedure, however, you won’t feel any pain. This is generally the case when the procedure is performed at the office. General anesthesia requires a hospital, where you will be put to sleep while Dr. Mark operates.
Taking into consideration the size and location of the hand tumour, Dr. Mark will perform a skin incision above or around it. He will then separate the tumour from the surrounding tissue and remove it. The skin of the hand is then closed with fine stitches and a gauze dressing is applied.
The time of surgery can vary widely depending on your specific case.
Complications and Risks of Hand Surgery
Hand surgery incurs risks and complications like all invasive surgery. Dr Gittos will make you aware of potential complications during your consultation. This includes general anaesthesia risks, bleeding (Hematoma), infection, wound healing, deep vein thrombosis, scarring and numbness. Always stay informed and healthy, do NOT smoke before or after your procedure and read & understand your risks of surgery.
Medical Sources for Further Reading
- ASSH Article on Wrist hand Tumours
- interesting Article on Hand Tumours
- Orthoinfo Article on Ganglion Cyst
- NHS Article on Tendons
Finding the best Hand Surgeon in Auckland
For many men & women in New Zealand suffering from hand or finger pain, having hand surgery is a life-changing experience. There are many qualified hand experts and plastic surgeons, but it is always best to find one who is experienced in hand surgery procedures. Find an experienced surgeon who you feel comfortable with and have a look at their online reviews and patient testimonials to find out what their past patients say.
Why Choose Dr Mark Gittos?
Dr. Mark Gittos is a plastic surgeon in Auckland, New Zealand who has extensive experience in treating hand tumours such as ganglion cysts, giant cell tumours of the tendon sheath, epidermal inclusion cysts, and others. Call us to book an appointment or to learn more about the services we offer.Dr Gittos has a current FRACS membership and significant hand surgery experience. You should consider these factors when searching for a top Hand Surgeon in NZ.
Make an Appointment for a Hand Consultation with Dr Gittos
If you have any symptoms that might be related to a hand tumour, give us a call to make an appointment with Dr. Mark Gittos in Auckland, New Zealand. Dr. Mark is a plastic surgeon who is experienced in treating a wide range of hand disorders, such as trigger finger, De Quervain’s syndrome, cubital and radial tunnel syndromes, carpal tunnel syndrome, ligament disorders, and tumours or ganglions. Come visit us to get a full assessment of your condition and learn about your treatment options.