Doctors are often able to diagnose a ganglion cyst based on its appearance and location. In addition, because the fluid inside a ganglion cyst is translucent, the doctor may hold a flashlight to the cyst to see if light shines through. Your doctor may also remove the cyst fluid to confirm the diagnosis.
X-rays are often reserved for cases in which other conditions, such as osteoarthritis, bone spurs, bone tumors or fractures, are suspected. However, X-rays may also be used to determine if there is cyst-related damage to wrist bones.
UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.