The most common soft tissue mass of the hand is the Ganglion Cyst. This is caused when the fluid inside of a joint protrudes through a weak spot in the joint lining causing a lump underneath the skin. These ganglions may appear suddenly and can change in size. The most common locations ganglion cysts appear are the back of the hand, the palm side of the hand, and the palm side of the finger.
A doctor can diagnose ganglion cysts by a physical exam. Many of these lesions light up when a small flashlight is shined through them. Using a needle to draw out the fluid from a ganglion cyst on the back of the hand will cause a recurrence of the mass about 50% of the time. This is not recommended in palm-side ganglions as the nerves and arteries may be sticking to the cyst. Ganglion cysts can be fixed most frequently by surgically removing the mass.
Giant Cell Tumor of the Tendon Sheath
The second most common tumor of the hand is the Giant Cell Tumor of the Tendon Sheath. This is a firm mass that can arise anywhere in the hand, usually near a joint or a ligament. If attached to a tendon, the tumor will move back and forth with finger motion. These masses are benign, are not normally painful, but can grow quite large. It’s necessary to completely remove the tumor through surgery or the tumor can reoccur.
Other Common Hand Masses
Other hand lesions include certain (benign) tumors of the lining of the nerve (Schwannoma) as well as a condition called Dupuytren’s Disease in which the tissue of the palm develops excess fibrous tissue and forms lumps and tight bands under the skin. For proper diagnosis and treatment of these lesions, you’ll need to see a specially trained hand surgeon. These masses usually involve critical structures in the hand such as nerves and tendons.
If you’re finding “lumps and bumps” on your hand, consult with one of our hand surgery doctors at our Danbury office in Fairfield County, CT. They are specially trained in conditions of the hand and can help to determine a correct diagnosis and treatment plan.