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Cysts About the Knee: Evaluation and Management

Stein, Drew MD; Cantlon, Matthew MD; MacKay, Brendan MD; Hoelscher, Christian

JAAOS - Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: August 2013 - Volume 21 - Issue 8 - p 469–479
doi: org/10.5435/JAAOS-21-08-469
Review Article

Popliteal (Baker) cysts, meniscal cysts, proximal tibiofibular joint cysts, and cruciate ligament ganglion cysts are cystic masses commonly found about the knee. Popliteal cysts form when a bursa swells with synovial fluid, with or without a clear inciting etiology. Presentation ranges from asymptomatic to painful, limited knee motion. Management varies based on symptomatology and etiology. Meniscal cysts form within or adjacent to the menisci. These collections of synovial fluid are thought to develop from translocation of synovial cells or extravasation of synovial fluid into the meniscus through a tear. Joint-line pain and swelling are common symptoms. Management entails partial meniscectomy with cyst decompression or excision. Proximal tibiofibular joint cysts are rare, and their etiology remains unclear. Pain and swelling secondary to local tissue invasion is common, and management consists of surgical excision. Cruciate ligament ganglion cysts have no clear etiology but are associated with mucoid degeneration of the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments, knee trauma, and synovial translocation into these ligaments. Knee pain and limited range of motion, especially with exercise, are common presenting symptoms. In symptomatic cases, arthroscopic excision is commonly performed.

From the NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases, New York, NY.

None of the following authors or any immediate family member has received anything of value from or has stock or stock options held in a commercial company or institution related directly or indirectly to the subject of this article: Dr. Stein, Dr. Cantlon, Dr. MacKay, and Mr. Hoelscher.

© 2013 by American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
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