Mucous Cysts

Mucous Cyst is a firm, fluid-filled cyst (a type of ganglion cyst) near the end of the finger usually just below the fingernail. These cysts are generally associated with arthritis in the joint closest to the fingertip.

Symptoms of a Mucous Cyst:

An early sign of a mucus cyst may be grooving of the fingernail resulting from pressure of the cyst pressing on the nail bed. The cyst eventually protrudes and becomes evident under the skin.

Causes of a Mucous Cyst:

  • Arthritis


A diagnosis of mucus cyst is made by examining the finger. An X-ray may be taken in order to determine the extent of arthritis present.

Treatment Options:

Treatment of a mucous cyst is surgical removal. Patients are strongly discouraged from trying to rupture or aspirate cysts themselves because of the risk of infection. If the cyst becomes unsightly or painful, surgical removal of it and any bony spurs that may be associated with it will be recommended. Occasionally these cysts rupture and drain a clear, jelly-like fluid. Rupture of the cyst may progress to an infection that can spread to the joint and should be treated immediately. 

While rare, and depending on the extent of tendon involvement, a small pin may be placed through the fingertip at the time of surgery in order to stabilize the joint as it heals. This is indicated in less than 10 percent of patients. The pin remains for four to six weeks and is then removed in the office. There may be some stiffness in the joint following surgery and rehabilitative exercises may be indicated. 

Surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure. Occasionally, despite surgical removal, a mucous cyst can recur.


© Copyright 2015 Dr. Allan Rosen MD