Recurrent intraneural ganglion cysts: Pathoanatomic patterns and treatment implications

Nicholas M. Desy, Lindsay J. Lipinski, Shota Tanaka, Kimberly K. Amrami, Michael G. Rock, Robert J. Spinner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The etiology of intraneural ganglion cysts has been poorly understood. This has resulted in the development of multiple surgical treatment strategies and a high recurrence rate. We sought to analyze these recurrences in order to provide a pathoanatomic explanation and staging classification for intraneural cyst recurrence. An expanded literature search was performed to identify frequencies and patterns in cases of intraneural ganglion cyst recurrences following primary surgery. Two univariate analyses were completed to identify associations between the type of revision surgery and repeat cyst recurrences. The expanded literature search found an 11% recurrence rate following primary surgery, including 64 recurrences following isolated cyst decompression (Group 1); six after articular branch resection (Group 2); and none following surgical procedures that addressed the joint (Group 3). Eight cases did not specify the type of primary surgery. In group 1, forty-eight of the recurrences (75%) were in the parent nerve, three involved only the articular branch, and one travelled along the articular branch in a different distal direction without involving the main parent nerve. In group 2, only one case (17%) recurred/persisted within the parent nerve, one recurred within a persistent articular branch, and one formed within a persistent articular branch and travelled in a different distal direction. Intraneural recurrences most commonly occur following surgical procedures that only target the main parent nerve. We provide proven or theoretical explanations for all identified cases of intraneural recurrences for an occult or persistent articular branch pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1058-1069
Number of pages12
JournalClinical Anatomy
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 2015


  • articular theory
  • intraneural ganglion cyst
  • recurrence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Histology


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