A tumour is a lump or abnormal growth formed due to unregulated cell division. Wrist tumours can occur on or underneath the skin. They are most often benign (non-cancerous). Common tumours include:
- Ganglion cysts: Fluid-filled growths generally found at the wrist joint. It is characterized by the swelling of a joint or tendon sheath (supportive lining of tendons) and leakage of the fluid that lubricates the joint forms the cyst.
- Giant cell tumours: These are solid tumours formed because of trauma caused to a tendon sheath, which stimulates the abnormal growth of cells.
- Epidermal inclusion cyst: Keratin-filled sac formed beneath the skin. Skin cells produce keratin, a waxy substance to protect its surface. Epidermal inclusion cysts develop when skin cells are trapped under the surface of a cut or puncture of the skin and continue to produce keratin, which forms the cyst.
Other wrist tumours include fat cell tumours (lipomas), nerve cell (neuromas) and nerve sheath tumours, and connective tissue tumours (fibromas).
Wrist tumours may be associated with pain, swelling, loss of flexibility and weakness or numbness. They can be diagnosed with physical examination and imaging tests such as X-rays, MRI and CT scan. Your doctor may also order a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis of the tumour and ascertain if they are benign or malignant.
Treatments mainly involve anti-inflammatory medications, use of splints and draining of the fluid from the cyst. Surgical treatment includes excision of the tumour. Excision is usually performed under local anaesthesia and is an outpatient procedure.