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    Baker’s Cyst Removal

    What is a Baker’s Cyst?

    Baker’s Cyst (also called a Popliteal Cyst); a benign cyst filled with synovial fluid (the fluid found between joints) that results in a bulge at the back of the knee. A Baker’s Cyst surgery involves the cyst’s surgical removal.

    What causes a Baker's Cyst?

    It’s caused when the tissue behind the knee joint becomes swollen and inflamed at the back of the knee; a sports-related injury or a blow to the knee can lead to a Baker’s cyst developing. Baker’s Cysts are more common in women than men, probably because women are more likely to develop osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. In rare cases, the fluid-filled swelling can burst (rupture), resulting in a sharp pain in your calf which becomes red, swollen and tight.

    Why is a Baker’s Cyst surgery needed?

    Baker’s Cyst Removal procedure is performed if Baker’s Cyst begins to cause any discomfort or pain in the knee and calf, and sometimes for cosmetic reasons. The swelling and inflammation can lead to a build-up of fluid around the knee and may cause occasional locking or clicking in the knee joint.

    In most of the cases, there are other factors that may trigger the development of a Baker’s cyst, e.g. osteoarthritis or chronic meniscal lesion and sometimes it evolves from the peri tendinitis of the flexor tendons of the knee. Therefore, in early stages – prior to surgery – it is highly recommended to find out the root reason and eliminate it.

    How does the procedure work?

    Baker’s Cyst Removal - How does the procedure work?

    After anesthesia is administered ­- which may be local, regional, or general ­- the surgical team sterilizes the leg with antibacterial solution. Then, the instruments are set up and the monitors are turned on. An incision is made over the cyst; it is identified, isolated, and severed from the surrounding tissue. Sometimes a graft or synthetic patch is placed at the site where the cyst was removed to cover the surface defect caused by removing the cyst.

    The skin is then closed with sutures and bandages.  You are awakened and taken to the recovery room. The procedure usually takes between 45 minutes to an hour.  A larger cyst requires a more delicate procedure that takes more than an hour because it may have swollen around nerves and blood vessels.

    What are the benefits and risks of the Baker’s Cyst surgery?

    Benefits

    By removing the Baker’s Cyst, the possibility of renewal can be decreased by the extirpation of the secerned capsule.

    The procedure is often performed for cosmetic reasons.

    The Baker’s Cyst removal relieves the patient from the discomfort and/or pain in the knee and calf caused by the cyst.

    Risks

    The possible complications that may arise during the surgery are:

    • Infection
    • Accidental injury to the neighboring tissue, blood vessel, nerve, or bone
    • Excessive bleeding
    • Anesthetic complications

    Am I a good candidate for the operation?

    Treatment for a Baker’s Cyst isn’t needed if you don’t have any symptoms. Further treatment will only be needed if the cyst stops you using your knee or causes persistent pain.

    To treat a Baker’s Cyst you can:

    • Take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce swelling and pain in the affected knee.
    • Hold an ice pack to your knee for 10-20 minutes to reduce any swelling.
    • Rest your knee joint.
    • Use compression bandages to support your knee joint (you can buy these from a pharmacy).

    If your cyst still causes problems after you’ve tried the above treatments, you may be a good candidate for Baker’s Cyst’s removal.

    How should I prepare for the surgery?

    It is very important to provide the following information to your surgeon, enabling him or her to assess the risks for the surgical procedure and helps avoid unnecessary complications.

    • Provide a complete list of medications you are currently taking
    • If you are allergic to any specific medication or food items
    • If you are taking blood thinners, such as aspirin, warfarin, herbal supplements, or any other such medications
    • If you or your family members, have a history of bleeding disorders, or if there is a tendency to bleed more than normal
    • If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, chest pains, or have previously suffered from a heart attack
    • If you have ever been diagnosed with blood clots in your leg (deep vein thrombosis) or lung (embolism of lung)
    • If you have a history of frequent bone fractures (this may affect bone-healing, if bones are involved as part of your procedure)
    • A list of all previous surgical procedures you have undergone, like for example: Removal of appendix, gallbladder, or any other part, of your body; surgical repair of any body part, such as hernia repair, perforation of bowel wall, etc.

    What shall I do after the surgery? (recovery time)

    The following post-operative care is recommended at home after Baker’s Cyst Removal procedure:

    • Wash the surgical wound with a mild soap while bathing and keep it dry thereafter.
    • Resume non-strenuous daily activities, as early as possible (per physician’s advice).
    • Use ice packs to reduce swelling and bleeding (per physician’s instructions).
    • Avoid taking non-prescribed medications.
    • Avoid strenuous exercises.

    Normally, it takes about 4-6 weeks to recover from a Baker’s Cyst Removal procedure.

    Why is regular check-up important after the surgery?

    The suggested check-up appointments are determined by the surgeon individually, depending on many factors such as the size of the former cyst, the patient’s phenotype etc. Generally, the stiches will be removed in 10-14 days and the surgeon checks your healing progress at the same time, if everything goes well and there are no complications you will have to arrange a second post-operative appointment 6 weeks after the surgery.

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