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Synovial Cysts and Surgery

Started by frankm on 07/24/2014 4:32pm

I have been informed by my doctor that the pain in my leg which at times is excruciating especially when I wake up is cause by a synovial cyst. The pain starts in my left butt cheek and goes down to my calf. I have had this condition for about 2 months and recently it has been getting worse. I have been resting per an Ortho's request meaning no golf, tennis, or gym but the pain is still there. I have seen Chiropractor with therapy, had sessions with a PT who changed stretches with no results. I have been on Melixocam, muscle relaxers, Advil, naproxen and other over the counter medicine with no relief. It hurts when I sit for long periods of time and sometimes hurts when I stand. I can still play golf and tennis but have not done so because I was told to rest. I was informed by a Neurosurgeon that in most cases microsurgery is the only relief. I have tried stretches, Transverse table and TENs and the only relief is Melixocam and TENS. the absolute worse pain is when I wake up and it takes almost 2 hours to feel better.
Does anyone have any experience with this type of surgery? I was told its a 2 hour procedure and will be laid up for 6 weeks and after that time I can possibly start PT. I am an extremely active person playing tennis twice a week golf 3 times a month and the gym 2 times a week. I would like to know what the downside of this surgery, will this condition come back? I have never had any back problems and have always had a strong core. Any information on this would be very helpful. I know surgery is the last resort and I feel this is the last one. is there anything prior to surgery I should try? Please your answers would be very helpful. Thanks,

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2 Responses


In 2009 I had a synovial cyst in the L4, L5 area and tried everything. PT only made it worse and by the time I saw a specialist I was dragging my right leg.
I had the cyst 'drained' or aspirated. I was awake through the entire procedure (about 1 hour). They used 2 needles, one to blow the cyst up with saline solution and then the second needle to drain out the fluid. Then a shot of cortisone for pain and to scar the area to prevent the cyst from growing back. A CAT scan was used to guide the Dr. I went home with a bandaid on my back and 2 weeks later was in the backcountry helping my Dad pack out a moose. So far the cyst has not re-appeared.
Maybe ask if this would work in your situation.
Hope this helps.


I had a L2-3 synovial cyst for 9 months before they discovered what was causing the excrutiating pain to my left quadriceps/knee. Caused atrophy to the muscles, and the pain was horrible. Thank goodness the orthopedic back surgeon remove it, but unfortunately it was attached to the dura which tore during the surgery and had to patch it. I have had no issues with that level since the surgery! I was told they had to remove the entire cyst so it would not fill back up with fluid, so I am glad they removed it all. Nothing else helped, including therapy, epidural injections, chiropractor, etc...

Good luck to you, choose the right approach for your situation.