Outcomes of Open Dorsal Wrist Ganglion Excision in Active-Duty Military Personnel

George C. Balazs, Michael A. Donohue, Matthew L. Drake, Derek Ipsen, George P. Nanos, Scott M. Tintle*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Purpose To examine the most common presenting complaints of active-duty service members with isolated dorsal wrist ganglions and to determine the rate of return to unrestricted duty after open excision. Methods Surgical records at 2 military facilities were screened to identify male and female active duty service members undergoing isolated open excision of dorsal wrist ganglions from January 1, 2006 to January 1, 2014. Electronic medical records and service disability databases were searched to identify the most common presenting symptoms and to determine whether patients returned to unrestricted active duty after surgery. Postoperative outcomes examined were pain persisting greater than 4 weeks after surgery, stiffness requiring formal occupational therapy treatment, surgical wound complications, and recurrence. Results A total of 125 active duty military personnel (Army, 54; Navy, 43; and Marine Corps, 28) met criteria for inclusion. Mean follow-up was 45 months. Fifteen percent (8 of 54) of the Army personnel were given permanent waivers from performing push-ups owing to persistent pain and stiffness. Pain persisting greater than 4 weeks after surgery was an independent predictor of eventual need for a permanent push-up waiver. The overall recurrence incidence was 9%. No demographic or perioperative factors were associated with recurrence. Conclusions Patients whose occupation or activities require forceful wrist extension should be counseled on the considerable risk of residual pain and functional limitations that may occur after open dorsal wrist ganglion excision. Type of study/level of evidence Therapeutic IV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1739-1747
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Dorsal wrist ganglion


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