Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Hand FAQ

Question:

My 17-year old daughter has a large bump on the back of her hand. Her grandpa says he can get rid of it by thumping it with the family Bible. Is this a real way to treat the problem? Does it work? Does it hurt?

Answer:

Even without a bump on the back of the hand, whapping it with a heavy book of any kind is likely to hurt. In this case, the intended goal is to rupture the bump if it's a fluid-filled ganglion cyst.

The traditional "Bible treatment" only works about half the time. More than 50 percent of these cysts come back again. A more successful way to treat it is with needle puncture and aspiration. The doctor inserts a needle into the sac and draws the fluid out. Cure rate is about 85 percent with this method.

Closed rupture (the Bible Treatment) or needle puncture isn't always advised. There is a risk of injury to the arteries or nerves in that area. For some ganglion cysts, surgical removal is the best treatment. When the stalk that connects the cyst to the joint or tendon sheath is removed, the cyst doesn't come back.

You'll need some medical tests first to know for sure what kind of cyst is present and the best way to treat it. It's probably best to thank the grandpa for his offer but choose a more effective, less painful method of treatment.

Todd C. Battaglia, MD, MS, et al. A Carpometacarpal Joint Ganglion Cyst Causing Median Neuropathy. In The American Journal of Orthopedics. April 2006. Vol. 35. No. 4. Pp. 186-188.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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