What are facet synovial cysts? | Dr. Andrew Cash, MD Las Vegas, Nevada

Synovial cysts are fluid-filled sacs that are benign and develop in the facet joints of the spine. They are somewhat uncommon and usually occur because of degeneration of the spine. If the sacs get large enough, spinal stenosis may develop.  It is most common to see these types of cysts in older patients. 

What are the symptoms? 

Many times people will have no visible symptoms.  However, sometimes individuals with these cysts will likely feel pressure in the spinal canal or have pain that begins in the lower back and radiates through the legs.

How are they diagnosed and treated?

If your doctor thinks you have synovial cysts, there will likely be an MRI ordered.  If there are cysts present, the doctor will likely try more conservative treatments to eliminate any discomfort, such as physical therapy, pain relief medications, or steroid injections.  If you are feeling intense pain that is chronic and begins to interfere with your regular activities, surgery may be required to remove the cyst and fuse the joints to make sure that more cysts don’t form again.  This is an invasive treatment option that can be painful and require more recovery time. 

Every case is different and should be discussed in great detail with your doctor. 

For more information on this procedure and to see if you are a good candidate, contact Dr. Cash at at www.disclv.com.

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