Baker's cyst. Diagnostics & Therapy

How is a Baker's Cyst identified and treated?

A Baker's Cyst often can bea treated conservatively, without the need of surgery.

A Baker's Cyst often can bea treated conservatively, without the need of surgery.

To initiate the proper treatment for a Baker's Cyst, our joint specialists perform a thorough diagnosis first. If a Baker's Cyst has been found, it must not be operated in any case. Only when a certain size is reached or blood flow, nerve and mobility of the knee joint are severely affected, it must be surgically removed.

Feel free to contact our specialized doctors and clinics for an evaluation of your specific situation. The exact disease in the knee joint itself needs to be identified and, depending on this, the local treatment of the knee joint and cyst needs to be planned.

 

Finding the cause of joint swelling.

 

Ultrasound.

In addition to the typical clinical picture obtained by a hands-on examination of the area, an ultrasound can provide further support for the suspected diagnosis, as well as making it possible to determine the cyst's size and location in relation to the muscles, joint and blood vessels.

 

X-rays.

X-rays will at best show minimal signs of increased soft tissue markings without any indication of a possible cause in the joint (such as arthritis, a loose body or malaligned joint axis).

 

Magnetic resonance imaging.

Image (left): MRI findings showing a Baker's Cyst; Image (right): Ultrasound with the cyst appearing as an echo-poor area.

Image (left): MRI findings showing a Baker's Cyst; Image (right): Ultrasound with the cyst appearing as an echo-poor area.

Magnetic resonance imaging is the best way to obtain a precise location in relation to the surrounding structures, especially the bundle of nerves and blood vessels and the knee joint itself, as well as to determine the size of the cyst.

 

What treatment options are available for a Baker's Cyst?

Arthroscopy for treatment of joint damage.

Arthroscopy for treatment of joint damage.

If the identifiable area of swelling is large in dimensions and is resulting in local irritation or impaired function in terms of a reduced ability to bend the knee, the specific cause of the symptoms of irritation in the knee joint itself should be investigated using x-rays or magnetic resonance imaging. Depending on the findings, it may be necessary to look inside the joint (knee arthroscopy) to obtain better diagnostic information from the knee. After this, an intervention or a second surgery can be performed to release the cyst carefully from the surrounding structures via an opening in the area at the back of the knee joint and to remove it up to the stalk-like connection into the joint. In this location, the connection to the joint must be carefully closed off to rule out the recurrence of a cyst as much as possible.

 

Baker's Cyst. Rehabilitation

The primary goals are improvement of knee function and preventing continued symptoms of irritation in the knee joint. Specifically, wound healing after the cyst has been removed must be improved by avoiding maximum extension of the knee joint. Once the wound has healed, mobility and the ability of the knee to cope with everyday stresses should be restored. Depending on the findings in the knee, it will be possible in most cases for full weight to be put on the joint immediately. Follow-up treatment can take 3 - 4 weeks.

 

Precautionary measures. How can I prevent a Baker's Cyst?

Long-term diseases of the knee joint increase the likelihood of a Baker's Cyst developing. These findings, which may not cause any dramatic symptoms at all, should therefore be evaluated by an orthopaedic specialist at an early stage to determine the potential consequences in terms of treatment. In the event of an underlying rheumatic disease, it is beneficial to administer a basic therapy to reduce the activity of the underlying condition. Various medications prescribed by an internal medicine specialist/rheumatologist may thus have a beneficial effect and reduce the risk of accompanying inflammatory diseases.

 

Baker's cyst

A Baker's cyst occurs in the space behind the knee joint and is the result of accumulation of joint fluid from the knee.

Baker's cyst

Specialised Clinics

Our specialised clinics and hospitals for the treatment of Baker's Cyst and knee diseases at a glance.

Specialised Clinics