Cyst > Treatments
Preparing for Aspiration
Although aspiration is generally a low-risk procedure,
the decisions you make and the actions you take before
your aspiration can be as important as the procedure
itself in ensuring a healthy recovery. Most insurance
companies require a second opinion before agreeing to
reimburse a patient for an aspiration procedure. Getting
a second opinion from a physician who is as qualified
as the physician who gave the initial diagnosis is advisable
in any case. Understand the potential risks and benefits
of aspiration, and ask your physician any questions
that will help you better understand the procedure.
It can also help to talk to someone else who has undergone
the same procedure. Any physical problems, such as a
fever or infection, should be reported to your physician,
and you should notify your physician of any medication
you are taking. You will probably not need any anaesthetic
and should not have restrictions placed on food or drink
in the days preceding aspiration.
Here are some important steps to remember
as you prepare to go to the hospital or outpatient clinic
for an aspiration of your baker's cyst:
most medical centers, you will go to "patient admissions"
to check in for your aspiration procedure. Aspiration
is usually an outpatient procedure but there may be
a separate department for inpatient surgery, so be sure
to ask your doctor.
you have checked in to the hospital or clinic for your
aspiration, you will go to a holding area where the
final preparations are made. Paperwork regarding your
past medical history and medication allergies is completed.
You will change into a hospital gown, and remove all
of your jewelry.
may be given a narcotic painkiller or a sedative, so
you should arrange ahead of time for someone to help
you leave the hospital and drive you home.
a loose pair of pants or other clothing that will fit
comfortably over your knee bandage when you leave the
| Aspiration Procedure
Most aspirations for baker's cysts
take about 15 minutes to perform. You are usually given
a local anesthetic that numbs your lower leg.
physician will insert a needle into the center of the
thick, transparent joint fluid is slowly removed.
on the size of your cyst, the physician may have to
insert the needle and draw fluid multiple times.
all the fluid has been removed, your cyst will generally
no longer be visible.
knee is wrapped with a compressive dressing that helps
stop tissues from expanding and collects any minor drainage
that may occur. Stitches are not needed.
After an aspiration, your knee may
look and feel as if it has been deflated. Patients do
not generally need to go to the recovery room after
an aspiration. You will be taken to the waiting room
or another quiet area in the doctor's office or hospital.
When the local anesthetic wears off, in about one to
two hours, you will be able to leave. Your physician
and a nurse usually talk to you and explain that there
is a chance of the cyst recurring. Depending on the
cause of your cyst, you will be given instructions on
what to do to properly heal your knee. Physicians generally
recommend that you have someone waiting to drive you
Here is what you can expect and how
you can cope after aspiration of a baker's cyst:
generally suggest that you rest at home with your knee
elevated for about 24 hours.
will probably feel moderate pain, but it usually goes
away within 24 hours and you may be able to resume moderate
activities the next day.
can usually remove the bandage the day after aspiration.
Most people do not experience much bleeding or fluid
much as possible, you should keep your knee elevated
above heart level to reduce swelling and pain. It often
helps to sleep with pillows under your ankle.
placing a heating pad or warm towel on the back of knee
to ease any pain or discomfort from the needle incision.
can typically bathe and swim without restriction, but
be sure you can comfortably stand up for ten to 15 minutes
at a time before showering.
free to use non-prescription painkillers, like aspirin
or ibuprofen, as directed on the bottle for any pain
soon as possible after surgery, you should begin doing
physical therapy as directed by your surgeon.
to normal daily activities as soon as possible. You
may return to work the same day after aspiration, depending
on the severity of your pain. Most patients return to
work within three to five days.
The underlying cause of your Baker's
cyst, whether it was arthritis, torn cartilage, or other
knee problems, usually dictates the specific rehab program
you need to undergo. Your physician may prescribe visits
to a physical therapist to begin supervised strengthening
exercises as soon as possible after aspiration of your
baker's cyst. After aspiration, you usually need to
avoid strenuous activities that put pressure on the
bones in your knee. Running, jumping, or twisting may
aggravate the synovial membrane and increase its production
of fluid, causing your cyst to swell again. You can
begin therapy immediately after aspiration in most cases,
depending on the overall condition of your knee. The
rehab program to help heal your knee after a baker's
cyst follows a general pattern. Most physical therapists
suggest one to four weeks of relative rest. This means
modifying your workouts to avoid activities that cause
pain. You can also reduce the intensity of your workout
- for example, Instead of riding a bike or running,
you could swim or rollerblade, or reduce the intensity
of your workout by using less resistance when you ride
or by eliminating hills from a running workout. Physicians
also suggest that you stretch and strengthen the muscles
that support the knee to help take strain off the knee
bones. After about four weeks of rehab, physical therapy
can become activity-oriented as you regain the ability
to perform complicated movements, using stationary bikes,
elliptical machines, and cross-country skiing machines.
Physicians usually suggest that you continue strength
training even after your knee has been rehabilitated.
Have your physician periodically check your knee for
strength and signs of a recurring baker's cyst.
Aspiration usually provides immediate
pain relief of baker's cyst, as the cyst is no longer
getting in the way of knee movement. However, you probably
will remain at risk for the cyst to recur. The best
way to prevent a recurring baker's cyst is to properly
treat the knee problem or disease that caused the cyst.
In the absence of other knee complications, the amount
of caution you should use during activities to prevent
a baker's cyst from recurring depends on your age as
a baker's cysts rarely affect joint function.
Once cysts heal, they rarely return.
the cyst may signal that you have sustained some
degree of cartilage damage. Becoming less involved in
strenuous activities, like contact sports or long distance
running, may help prevent future baker's cysts. But
you do not need to avoid activities or be overly concerned
with prevention unless the underlying cause of your
baker's cyst was a severe disease or injury that warrants
extra prevention measures.
a baker's cyst may be more problematic later in
life, harming the function of your knee joint, and you
should continue to visit your physician for check-ups
after the cyst heals. Because baker's cysts are common
companions of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis,
you should strongly consider cutting back your activity
level to avoid situations that could strain your knee
Weight control is also important. One extra pound of
body weight translates into three or four pounds of
weight across your knee every time you take a step.
Lightening the load on your knees helps them to function
| Treatment Introduction
A baker's cyst usually goes away
as the underlying joint injury or disease is treated.
However, physicians can offer you immediate pain relief
by extracting the fluid from your baker's cyst with
a needle. This procedure, known as aspiration, is usually
performed in conjunction with a knee arthroscopy, which
lets physicians take a close look at your knee using
a tiny camera.