Take Two Aspirations, Then Call the SurgeonEven the simplest surgery can be expensive. Doctors are sensitive to the costs of surgery. They look for ways to simplify treatment while still keeping it effective. This is the case with surgery for ganglions in the hand or wrist.
A ganglion is a thin sac that contains a thick, clear fluid. The fluid looks and feels like hardened jelly. Ganglions can occur in the hands and feet, usually in the lining of the tendons. They may cause pain and prevent you from gripping items. For these reasons, they are sometimes removed.
A new way to treat ganglions is available. Instead of removing it with an open surgery, doctors are using a method called aspiration. During aspiration, a needle is inserted into the ganglion. This either pops the ganglion or allows the doctor to remove the thick fluid.
More than half of all patients require only one aspiration. The cost is around $150. Sometimes, a second aspiration is needed. This doubles the cost (now around $300). Even with two aspirations, the cost is less than surgery to remove the ganglion. Surgical removal costs around $1,800. Rarely, surgery is required after two aspirations.
James G. Bittner IV, BA, et al. Management of Flexor Tendon Sheath Ganglions: A Cost Analysis. In The Journal of Hand Surgery. July 2002. Vol. 27A. No. 4. Pp. 586-590.
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