Wrist Tumors

A tumor is a lump or abnormal growth formed due to unregulated cell division. Wrist tumors can occur on or underneath the skin. They are most often benign (non-cancerous). Common tumors include:

  • Ganglion cysts: Fluid-filled growths generally found at the wrist joint. It is characterized by the swelling of a joint or tendon sheath (supportive lining of tendons) and leakage of the fluid that lubricates the joint, which forms the cyst.
  • Giant cell tumors: These are solid tumors formed because of trauma caused to a tendon sheath, which stimulates the abnormal growth of cells.
  • Epidermal inclusion cyst: Keratin-filled sac formed beneath the skin. Skin cells produce keratin, a waxy substance to protect its surface. Epidermal inclusion cysts develop when skin cells are trapped under the surface of a cut or puncture of the skin and continue to produce keratin, which forms the cyst.

Other wrist tumors include fat cell tumors (lipomas), nerve cell (neuromas) and nerve sheath tumors, and connective tissue tumors (fibromas).

Wrist tumors may be associated with pain, swelling, loss of flexibility and weakness or numbness. They can be diagnosed with physical examination and imaging tests such as X-rays, MRI and CT scan. Your doctor may also order a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis of the tumor and ascertain if they are benign or malignant.

Treatments mainly involve anti-inflammatory medications, use of splints and draining of the fluid from the cyst. Surgical treatment includes excision of the tumor. Excision is usually performed under local anesthesia and is an outpatient procedure.

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