BAKER CYST

  • Swelling caused by fluid from the knee joint bulging to the back of the knee (popliteal area)
  • Due to an excess of knee joint fluid that is compressed by the body weight between the bones of the knee joint
    • Can become trapped and separate from the joint to form fluid-filled Baker’s cyst sac
  • Other name: popliteal cyst
  • No symptoms or be associated with knee pain and/or tightness behind the knee
  • Usually seen as a bulge behind the knee
    • Especially noticeable on standing and when compared to the opposite uninvolved knee
    • Soft and minimally tender
  • Can become complicated by spread of fluid down the leg between the muscles of the calf (dissection)
    • Can rupture, leaking fluid down the inner leg
      • Appearance of a painless bruise under the inner ankle
    • Baker cyst dissection and rupture are frequently associated with swelling of the leg and can mimic phlebitis.
      • Causes immediate leg swelling

DIAGNOSIS

  • Physician may do/request:
    • History and Physical Exam
    • Imaging tests
      • Ultrasound
      • Arthrogram: Injection of contrast dye into the knee followed by imaging
      • MRI

 

RECOMMENDED MEDICATIONS

  • Aspiration (removal) of excess knee fluid together with cortisone injection.
  • Medications to pain and inflammation.
  • Physical therapy or surgery
    • If there are cartilage tears or other internal knee problems
    • During surgery, swollen tissue (synovium) that leads to the cyst formation can be removed; done usually with arthoscopic surgery

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