Ganglion Cysts

Ganglion Cysts

A ganglion cyst is a benign growth (or tumor) in the skin that results from abnormal cell division. They are most commonly found in the palms of hands, soles of feet, or other areas where there is excessive sweating. Ganglion cysts may cause pain when touched and they may even lead to infection if not treated promptly.

The word “cyst” comes from the Greek words kystra meaning bladder and stoma meaning chamber. A cyst is actually a collection of fluid within the body cavity. They are made up of cells called fibroblasts, which produce collagen and elastin, two types of connective tissue that keep bones strong and flexible. When these cells divide too rapidly, they form a mass with no room for new blood vessels to drain away excess fluids.

This leads to swelling, pain, and inflammation. Ganglion cysts usually occur due to a genetic predisposition or because of environmental factors such as prolonged exposure to high temperatures.

Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a hereditary disorder characterized by an inability of the immune system to properly attack invading germs. CF affects approximately one out of every 68 children born in the United States each year. In addition, 30,000 adults in the U.S.

are carriers of this disease. The lack of a normal enzyme due to this genetic defect causes a buildup of thick mucus within the body’s glands, ducts, and passages. This includes the lungs, pancreas, and joints. These passageways get blocked by the mucus secretions causing infections and blockages.

The disease is most common in Caucasians of Northern European descent. In the United States, 1 out of every 3,600 people is a carrier of this disease. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this disease; however, there are several drug therapies aimed at treating the symptoms of cystic fibrosis and improving the quality of life for those with the condition.

About 1 in 2,500 babies in the United States is born with a birth defect. That’s about 5 percent of all newborns–which may not sound like a lot, but that amounts to about 6,000 babies every year. And while many of these conditions are treatable, some of them cause lifelong disabilities–and for a few, there is no cure at all.

At present, the leading known cause of mental retardation is Down syndrome, a chromosomal abnormality that results from having three copies of chromosome 21, instead of the usual two (it is typically manifested by having an extra copy of the entire chromosome–not just part of it). The condition was first described in 1866 by John Langdon Haydon Down, after whom it is named. Before and since then, many theories have attempted to explain the cause.

The most popular theory of the day was the “tainted gene” theory, which held that certain people were simply moral degenerates who would inevitably father children with similar defects. It would be many years before scientists understood that Down syndrome and other congenital conditions are caused by abnormalities of chromosomes, not by inheriting immoral traits from one’s parents.

Sources & references used in this article:

Lumbar synovial or ganglion cysts by TD Kjerulf, DW Terry, RJ Boubelik – Neurosurgery, 1986 – academic.oup.com

Lumbar intraspinal synovial and ganglion cysts (facet cysts) by KY Hsu, JF Zucherman, WJ Shea, RA Jeffrey – Spine, 1995 – sfspine.com

Ganglion cysts and other tumor related conditions of the hand and wrist by ME Nahra, JS Bucchieri – Hand clinics, 2004 – academia.edu