Cysts, Masses and Tumors

Lumps and bumps on the hand, wrist, or forearm can be a cause of significant anxiety for patients but are rarely anything too serious. Benign cysts and masses are actually very common in the hand and wrist, and often don’t cause significant problems. They can however sometimes cause pain or limit function. Tumors are just abnormal tissue growths, and most are benign. Malignant or cancerous tumors of the hand, wrist, or forearm are exceedingly uncommon, but we recommend you have any new lump or bump checked out.

Common Benign Cysts and Masses by Location:


Mucous Cysts
Ganglion Cysts
Bone Spurs and Cysts


Ganglion Cysts


Ganglion Cysts



Is there a test for masses, cysts and tumors?

Your symptoms and medical history as well as an examination of your hand and wrist can help to diagnose the mass or cyst. Sometimes x-rays or MRI is recommended. If there are concerning features, the mass can be surgical removed, and the biopsy tissue sent to the pathology lab for identification.

When should you be more concerned about lumps and bumps?

All new or changing lumps and bumps should be checked out. Even benign ones can be painful or limit function and may benefit from simple treatments. Severe pain, rapid growth, and skin ulcerations definitely warrant more urgent medical attention.


Treatment options depend on the type and location of the cyst or mass, and whether it is symptomatic.

Nonoperative:  Simple cysts or masses can often just be observed if they are not painful, limiting function, or growing. Some fluid-filled cysts like wrist ganglion cysts can often be drained in the office.

Operative:  Painful cysts or masses, those that are limiting function, or those that show concerning features like rapid growth can often be surgically removed. The biopsy tissue can be sent to the lab for identification.

Ready to confirm a diagnosis and fix the problem or just want to learn more?

Our board-certified orthopedic hand and wrist surgeons Eric Angermeier, MD and Kyle Kokko, MD, PhD, are here to help! They can often diagnose the problem in one visit, and get you started with a treatment plan. We offer a wide variety of both nonoperative and operative treatment options.

Call today for a clinic or telehealth appointment! 854-429-4263