Ganglion Cyst Removal / Excision Recovery Pictures

I had surgery on April 10 to remove a ganglion cyst that’s been bothering me for ages. It used to be that I could put a splint on it and it would go down, but the last few years it wouldn’t go down even if splinted for several days. Occasionally it would get to hurting, but to be honest, the main reason I had it done is because it was affecting my push-up! Ha!

So, obnoxious as it is, I’m going to post pictures of what it looked like as it has healed. I don’t like it when people post picture s like this on Facebook, but no one reads my blog anyway, and the images will be here in case someone googles for it.

The ganglion cyst removal surgery was uneventful as far as I know, but as usual, it took me 3-4 times as long as a normal person to come out of the anesthesia. I had warned the anesthesiologist ahead of time, but they never really believe me. For several hours I couldn’t even lift my head — I was like a rag doll. The weirdest part was the crying. It’s not like I was hurting or sad or anything. The drugs just made me cry. Turns out it’s pretty common. I was a little nauseous and they gave me something for that, plus something to wake me up, but all it did was make it so I could open my eyes. They needed the bed and asked us if we could just go home to sleep it off, so we left around lunch time. I guess we were there about 5 hours for what should have been 2-3.

I had virtually no pain from the incision. I did take the pain pills as prescribed, but they were just making me high and the anti-nausea stuff was making me sleepy, so I quit them by Friday. 600mg Ibuprofen and some Tylenol alternated in if it got bad did the trick.

By the weekend, I was ready to rip my bandage off. It was hurting like crazy, but the doctor said keep it on 10 days, so…..

We left on a trip to Chicago, and my arm was driving me up the wall. It was about this time that I realized all of the pain I was feeling was on my forearm, nowhere near the incision. By six days post-op, I decided to call the doctor’s office. I couldn’t get ahold of anyone, and I was in Chicago anyway, so I just sent Jared and Sydney to the pharmacy to buy a pair of surgical scissors to get the bandage off.

By April 16, I gave up! I was in so much pain I finally unwrapped the ace bandage. This cotton wrap was underneath. I took this picture so I could rewrap it later, after the pain went down. (Spoiler — it didn’t)
My skin was all messed up and a bit speckly. It took more than TWO DAYS for these marks to go down and my skin to puff back up to normal, even after I took off the bandage. It was clear the bandage had been on too tight. Even a week later, my arm hurt too much to touch. I was starting to worry that I had nerve damage that would be permanent.
This is what the steri strips and pen marks looked like 6 days post op. My ganglion cyst was on the top of my wrist right at the bend.
April 17 — my skin was still weird-looking and speckly. I was a little freaked out. It still hurt like the devil, too.
On April 19 my skin started to slough off wherever the bandage had been. Yeah, that was weird. I rewrapped it fairly loosely when I went out to protect it while shopping and Segway-ing, but I left it unwrapped at night. It still hurt like heck to the touch. It made wearing the splint torture. At times my skin looked weirdly shiny. It was freaky.
On April 21 the nurse took out my stitch. It was not at all what I was expecting.
See the tiny dot below the steri strips? There’s a matching one the other side of my wrist. Turns out that was either end of a long string they had woven through my wrist. The nurse cut the knot off one end and pulled the whole thing out, sort of like unlacing a shoe. Didn’t hurt at all. From this view you can see the swelling.

I told the PA about my arm hurting. She said it sounded like some nerves got over stimulated from the bandage being on too tight and that it should improve over time., but to call if I was worried.
The PA told me the steri strips would fall off on their own by April 22. On April 24 they still hadn’t, so I finally took them off myself. I think the doctor had glued one side down. They were very hard to pull up one handed! I held down the incision with some fingers and tugged on the strips toward the incision with the other.
Blurry closeup. My forearm was markedly better but it still hurt to touch. The PA told me earlier to rub my forearm with lotion, but that hurt too much, even more than a week after I took off the bandage.
May 8 — the incision looks super good. I still have some swelling and there’s a sort of lump underneath it. My forearm still hurts, but only in the ring where the original bandage and splints end, which happens to be in the same spot. Even though it’s irritating, I can wear the splint both day and night with minimal problems. It mainly hurts when touched. That’s a big improvement over where I was even a week ago.
The red mark toward my thumb is just from the splint.

On Splints

I have three wrist splints. I have found that having a couple of splints to rotate between helps me be less irritated.

This is my old splint. I’ve had it 8-10 years. My doctor sold it to me for like $50 the first time I went in for help with the cyst years ago— pretty sure I got screwed. This splint is fairly comfortable. It’s VERY rigid, and I can’t move my wrist at all if it’s tightened properly. It has a light liner that helps it not be so irritating inside. It’s kind of uncomfortable if you don’t tighten it up. When it’s tight, it really does take all the pressure off your wrist. I think I have the size X-small (I have super small hands and wrists), This brace used to bring my cyst down in a day or so…. until it didn’t.

The only downside of this brace is that the Velcro bits get caught on stuff, so I just cut up a colorful mate-less sock and use that as a cover (see below):

I bought this Mueller green brace some years ago to swap out with my regular brace. It’s easy to put on and very comfortable. I like that it’s shorter than my other braces, which lets my forearm take a break. The only problem with this brace is I can cheat while wearing it. It’s possible to move farther than I should, even when the brace is fully tightened. It’s soft. I’d call this a medium rigid brace. It is easy to type with, but because it’s not as rigid as my other one, my wrist can get tired of supporting itself when I wear it, which means I don’t heal as well. I have the size small/medium, and it’s just slightly too large. They need an extra small, and this would be my favorite of the braces.

Unluckily I left my brace on a plane from Denver Saturday. This image is from the web.

UThe new wrist brace came from my surgeon’s office. The brand is Med Spec (Medical Specialties) of of Waynesboro, North Carolina. It has an adjustable thumb opening (its only redeeming feature) and uses a lace and Velcro contraption to close in one motion.

I HATE this thing. Hate hate hate it.

The worst thing is how bumpy it is on the inside. It has a fabric thing inside to keep you from being punched by the laces, but that doesn’t matter to me. When I close it the brace overlaps anyway, so I cut the little stitching out to make it like a sock liner (like my old gray brace). It didn’t help. The stitching and whatever bracing is inside hurts and leaves marks anyway.

Even though this thing is more comfortable around my fingers and the thumb adjustment is nice, I just can’t get this this tight enough around my wrist. One size fits all—ha! My arm slops around inside, which hurts because of the seams, and it lets my wrist bend farther than it should, which means I can’t ever actually rest it. I think this isn’t probably a firm support brace if you can get it to fit you and can tolerate the agony from the seams.

I had to pay a $15 copay for this, which was far too much for this Chinese torture device. I’ve seen it on Amazon for $17. Avoid this brace if you have smaller wrists.

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About Jenny Smith

I'm Jenny Smith. I keep up with three cars, two kids, one husband, and I live on 300+ acres of rolling farmland in Northern Virginia where we look after an elderly relative. I like tomatoes, all things Star Trek, watercolor, and reading. I spend most days in the garden fighting deer and groundhogs as I pursue a graduate degree. I'm trying to be like Jesus -- emphasis on the trying.
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