Which medical therapies are used in the treatment of cystic lesions of the knee?

Updated: Dec 29, 2018
  • Author: David M Gonzalez, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: Thomas M DeBerardino, MD  more...
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Medical treatment of some cysts may be effective. Bursal cysts due to acute trauma sometimes respond to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication, rest, immobilization, and compression. Cysts that form secondary to gouty arthritis respond to an antigout treatment program. Cysts caused by rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis can respond to medical treatment regimens. Infected cysts respond to antibiotics after being surgically drained.

The MRI findings in one retrospective study confirmed that popliteal cysts in pediatric populations can be expected to resolve without treatment. In the study, cysts confined to either the gastrocnemio-semimembranosus bursa or the subgastrocnemius bursa, according to the MRI findings, were classified as type I; cysts that occupied both bursae were classified as type II. All type II cysts converted to type I, and all cysts that disappeared completely were originally type I. [23]

Hautmann et al reported on low-dose radiotherapy as treatment for Baker (popliteal) cysts in 20 knees of patients with osteoarthritis. Cysts decreased in volume by more than 25% after 6 to 12 weeks in 75% of their patients and after 9 to 12 months in 79% of their patients. [24]

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