Comprehensive Care

The specialists at MedStar Orthopaedic Institute have the experience and expertise to successfully treat any hand or wrist cyst or tumor. All of our orthopedic surgeons have fellowship training in hand surgery and care exclusively for hand and upper extremity conditions. We are the prime referral center for the most complex orthopedic hand conditions in Washington, D.C., and we perform thousands of hand surgical procedures each year, including the most advanced treatment procedures.

We will always take time to talk with you about your condition, answer all of your questions, and explain your diagnosis. No matter how challenging your condition is to treat, we will work with you to develop an innovative and effective solution that restores your function and meets the demands of your daily life.

What is a hand cyst or hand tumor?

A tumor is any unusual group of cells that grow in your body. We often associate tumors with cancer, but most hand tumors are not cancerous. A ganglion cyst is the most common hand tumor and generally grows either on the top or inner side of your wrist. These fluid-filled pouches can put pressure on your nerves, causing pain.

What causes a cyst or tumor in your hand or wrist?

Though we don’t know what causes these cysts and tumors to develop, we do know that ganglion cysts often affect women more than men, as well as gymnasts. We recommend visiting an orthopedic specialist at MedStar Orthopaedic Institute for an evaluation at the first signs of a tumor.

What are the symptoms?

The earliest indicator of a cyst or tumor is the lump (ganglion cyst) itself. The lumps are typically very painful, but they can sometimes be painless. Other symptoms that may warrant a visit to MedStar Orthopaedic Institute to evaluate your hand cyst include:

  • Pain and tenderness
  • Tenderness that increases with use of the hand
  • Restricted range of motion
  • Ganglions/lumps that change in size and may even disappear and then return

How is a cyst on the hand or hand tumor diagnosed?

The orthopedic surgeons at MedStar Orthopaedic Institute are experts at diagnosing hand and wrist cysts and tumors. Our initial exam includes:

  • Medical history evaluation – This includes asking questions about how long you have had the cyst or tumor, whether it has grown, and if it is painful.
  • Physical exam – Your orthopedist will examine your growth carefully, and touch it to see if it hurts.
  • Aspiration – In some cases, your orthopedist may want to examine the fluid from inside the cyst to confirm a diagnosis. The orthopedist will insert a needle with a syringe into the cyst to remove fluid.
  • Imaging tests – If your orthopedist wants to confirm the size and shape of your growth, you may need an MRI. An X-ray exam helps to rule out the presence of other problems, including arthritis or a cancerous tumor.

How is a hand or wrist cyst or tumor treated?

Physicians generally seek to heal ganglion cysts without surgery. In some cases, ganglion cysts disappear on their own without any treatment. For cysts that do not resolve themselves, treatment options include:

  • Brace or splint
  • Aspiration

Surgery is recommended for giant cell tumors of tendon sheath and ganglion cysts that return even after aspiration. Minimally invasive hand surgery is employed to remove the cyst or tumor, as well as any affected surrounding joint tissue.


If you believe you may be suffering from a hand cyst or tumor, call 202-295-0511 to schedule a consultation with one of our orthopedic specialists at MedStar Orthopaedic Institute. Our doctors have years of experience diagnosing and treating hand and wrist conditions and are pleased to offer comprehensive hand tumor care in the Washington, D.C. area.

Our Specialists

Hand, Wrist & Elbow

John S. Foley, MD
John S. Foley, MD
Hand, Wrist & Elbow

MedStar Montgomery Medical Center
Curtis Mitchell Henn, MD
Curtis Mitchell Henn, MD
Hand, Wrist & Elbow
PhonePhone: 202-444-3668

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital
MedStar Orthopaedic Institute - Lafayette Centre
Ryan M. Jander, MD
Ryan M. Jander, MD
Hand, Wrist & Elbow
PhonePhone: 866-767-1682

MedStar Orthopaedic Institute – Alexandria
MedStar Orthopaedic Institute – Brandywine
MedStar Orthopaedic Institute – Lake Ridge
Michael William Kessler, MD

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital
MedStar Orthopaedic Institute - Chevy Chase
MedStar Orthopaedic Institute - Lafayette Centre


3800 Reservoir Road Northwest Washington, DC, 20007
Phone: 202-444-8766
18109 Prince Philip Drive, Suite 325 Olney, MD, 20832
Phone: 301-774-8958
106 Irving Street Northwest, Washington, DC, 20010
Phone: 202-877-6000
1120 20th Street Northwest, Building 1 South Washington, DC, 20036
Phone: 202-416-2000
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Phone: 301-856-1682
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Phone: 301-215-9423
6355 Walker Lane, Suite 501 Alexandria, VA, 22310
Phone: 703-971-3701
12825 Minnieville Road, Suite 203 Woodbridge, VA, 22192
Phone: 703-971-3701