Ganglion cysts at the gastrocnemius origin: a series of ten cases

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Abstract

Objective

To describe ganglion cysts arising close to the origin of the medial and lateral head of gastrocnemius as identified on magnetic resonance (MR) imaging.

Design and patients

We present a series of ten cases of ganglion cysts arising close to the gastrocnemius origin from the medial and lateral femoral condyles. These were collected over a 6-year period from our imaging database. All patients attended for routine MR imaging of the knee with a variety of clinical presentations. Data collected included patient demographics, ganglion size, ganglion site, clinical presentation and ancillary MR imaging findings. The ten patients in this series consisted of seven males and three females, five right and five left knees, age range 27-68 years, mean age 40.6 years.

Results

The mean maximal dimension of the ganglion cysts was 26 mm, range 15-40 mm. The medial gastrocnemius origin was involved in eight patients and the lateral origin in two patients. The MR imaging findings consisted of both uni- and multi-loculated cysts, often containing numerous septations with fluid signal characteristics. The cysts were extra-capsular with no clear communication with the joint. One patient presented with a popliteal soft tissue mass and none of the cases required surgical intervention for cyst removal.

Conclusions

MR imaging may identify ganglion cysts arising in an intra- or extra-articular site around the knee. This series documents the MR imaging characteristics of ganglion cysts arising close to the gastrocnemius origin and discusses the relevance of this imaging finding.

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