But if it’s hurting you or you really want to be rid of it, then there are options. Not surprisingly, there are no randomised controlled trials of having it hammered with a Bible, but other treatments have been tested. The fluid can be removed with a needle or the whole ganglion including its shell removed surgically. There is only a 13% success rate after aspiration with a needle just once, but it can be repeated, and sometimes a steroid injection is given at the same time to improve the chances of success. After surgery the recurrence rate is far lower, but it takes longer to recover. A review of randomised controlled trials shows that there are more complications from this approach, such as damage to the nerves or blood vessels or the formation of scar tissue.
So sadly, for something that’s so common, there’s no perfect treatment. But hoping it goes away by itself might still be better than bashing it with a Bible.
You can hear more Medical Myths on Health Check on the BBC World Service.
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