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Mucous cysts of the fingers

Mucous cyst is a tumefaction which appears at the extremity of the fingers, above the nail and develops either rapidly or progressively over several years.

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Diagnosis of a mucous cyst

Mucous cyst is a cyst which is synovial in nature, with its origin at the last finger joint and it is often caused by the early stages of arthrosis.

Deformation may be observed in the nail and is caused by compression of the cyst on the matrice unguéale.

The mucoid cyst is naturally benign, but can be harmful in terms of the compression or the risk of infection it represents in presence of spontaneous ruptures.

Diagnosis is made on examination. An X-ray may be requested in order to evaluate the extent of the associated arthrosis

Diagnostic du kiste mucoïde


  • In cases with a cyst that is limited in volume, and not causing pain or unguéale deformation, treatment is not always necessary.
  • In cases with a larger cyst, with translucent skin which may burst and thus lead to infection in the joint, or in cases with nail deformation, a surgical excision is the recommended treatment.

Surgical procedure

  • Length of hospital stay: outpatient
  • Anaesthetic: regional (only the arm is put to sleep)

The cyst is completely removed by means of a short incision and the altered cartilage at the joint may be abraded to reduce friction. The over-fine skin of the cyst will be removed and possibly replaced by a flap, i.e. skin taken from a nearby site.

After-surgery care

Splint on the last 2 phalanges for ten to fifteen days after surgery.

Dressings are to be changed every 2 days.

Possible complications

  • Infection is always possible, but not very frequent.
  • Recurrence is also always possible in 5 to 10 % of cases.
  • A moderate loss of mobility may also be observed in the last joint.
  • Algoneurodystrophy : may develop as with all operations and include extensive swelling, stiffness and pain that can last several months.
  • It is not possible to predict its occurrence or the stiffness left as an after effect and pain is therefore a possibility.
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Dr. Philippe Roure, orthopedic surgeon in Paris, specialized in surgery of the hand and the upper limb. This site is intended to present his practice, his medical practices, as well as the information of his patients. It does not exempt under any circumstances from a medical consultation. For more information, you can make an appointment.

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