DEFINITION--Removal of Baker's cyst, a benign cystic tumor on the back of the
knee joint. The cyst consists of accumulated fluid that protrudes between two groups of
muscles behind the knee. Baker's cyst may result from injury or from diseases, such as
arthritis, gout or inflammation of the membrane lining the knee joint.
BODY PARTS INVOLVED--Space behind the knee joint on either or both sides of the
REASONS FOR SURGERY--If the cyst has resulted from disease, it usually
disappears after successful treatment of the underlying disease. Otherwise, the cyst is
removed when it becomes painful or unsightly. In children, the cyst is usually left to
heal by itself, and is not removed unless it presses on nerves or blood vessels.
SURGICAL RISK INCREASES WITH
- Obesity; smoking.
- Poor nutrition.
- Recent or chronic illness.
What To Expect
WHO OPERATES--General surgeon or orthopedist.
WHERE PERFORMED--Outpatient surgical facility or hospital.
- Before surgery: Blood and urine studies; x-rays of both knees; arthrograms (See Glossary).
- After surgery: Blood studies.
- Local anesthesia by injection.
- General anesthesia by injection and inhalation with an airway tube placed in the
DESCRIPTION OF OPERATION
- An incision is made over the cyst.
- The cyst is located, cut free from surrounding tissue and removed.
- The skin is closed with fine sutures, which usually can be removed about 2 weeks after
- A synthetic patch is sutured in place to cover the defect left from removal of the cyst.
- Excessive bleeding.
- Surgical-wound infection.
- Slow healing and continued pain.
- Recurrence (rare).
AVERAGE HOSPITAL STAY--0 to 1 day.
PROBABLE OUTCOME--Expect complete healing without complications. Allow about 4
weeks for recovery from surgery.
- A hard ridge should form along the incision. As it heals, the ridge will recede
- Use an electric heating pad, a heat lamp or a warm compress to relieve incisional pain.
- Bathe and shower as usual. You may wash the incision gently with mild unscented soap.
† You may use non--prescription drugs, such as acetaminophen, for minor pain.
† To help recovery and aid your well--
being, resume daily activities, including work, as soon as you are able.
- Use crutches or a cane to walk (as directed by your doctor). > Avoid vigorous
exercise for 6 weeks after surgery. > Resume driving 2 weeks after returning home.
DIET--Eat a well--balanced diet to promote healing.
Call Your Doctor If
† Pain, swelling, redness, drainage or bleeding increases in the surgical area.
- You develop signs of infection: headache, muscle aches, dizziness or a general ill
feeling and fever.
- You experience nausea or vomiting.
- New, unexplained symptoms develop. Drugs used in treatment may produce side effects.