Excision of painful dorsal wrist ganglion by open or arthroscopic approach : a comparison study

Published online: Jun 27 2017

Hyun l.l. Lee et al

From the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Inje University Ilsan Paik Hospital, Goyang, Korea


Dorsal wrist ganglion can be removed through open or arthroscopic excision. The better method for relieving pain remains unknown. In this study, we addressed the following questions: (1) does open excision provide better pain relief than arthroscopic? (2) is there any difference in patient satisfaction, functional outcome, and re-operation rate? Forty-five patients with painful dorsal wrist ganglions underwent open or arthroscopic excision. Posterior interosseous neurectomy was performed during open excision. Clinical outcomes were assessed with a focus on pain relief. Patient satisfaction, recurrence, and reoperation due to residual pain were also assessed. The average pain scores improved significantly after both, open and arthroscopic excision. However, five patients who underwent arthroscopic excision reported the same or worse pain, whereas all patients who underwent open excision reported postoperative alleviation of pain. The recurrence rate was comparable. Patient satisfaction was better in those who underwent open excision. Reoperation was performed in four patients who had residual pain after arthroscopic excision. Both, open and arthroscopic methods can alleviate pain in patients with painful dorsal wrist ganglion. However, 20% of the patients who underwent arthroscopic excision reported residual or persistent pain.