How serious is Baker's cyst?


Baker's cysts are fluid-filled sacs caused by excess fluid in the knee joints.

This common condition occurs when excess fluid produced by the lining of the knee joint pushes through the back of the joint capsule (the fibrous tissue that surrounds the joint), forms a cyst, and bulges to the back. of the knee known as the popliteal region. . pit. Baker's cyst is also called a "popliteal cyst."

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If you have osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis , you may be familiar with this painful condition. Fortunately, there are treatments for Baker's cyst, depending on the cause.


Baker's cysts have nothing to do with true bakers; They are named after William Morrant Baker, the British surgeon who first discovered them. Anyone can develop a Baker's cyst, especially after a knee injury or due to a chronic knee condition.

Simply put, a Baker's cyst can develop after a joint capsule is damaged or weakened. It is caused by swelling of the knee due to arthritis or an injury, such as a torn cartilage or meniscus.

It is important to check if your condition is really a Baker's cyst, as other serious conditions can have the same symptoms, especially deep vein thrombosis, a dangerous type of blood clot.


Baker's cyst can be soft to the touch and slightly painful. You may not have any symptoms other than a visible lump below the knee or a sensation of something below the knee. When you extend your knee, Baker's cyst may become more dense or painful.

Baker's cyst can grow or shrink in size. It can also burst under the skin, and the symptoms of a burst Baker's cyst are very similar to those associated with blood clots: redness and pain in the calf. The body absorbs the fluid from the ruptured cyst. When this happens, the Baker's cyst temporarily disappears, but usually returns.

Diagnosis and treatment

A physical exam is usually sufficient to diagnose a Baker's cyst. An MRI or ultrasound may be used to confirm that the cyst is fluid-filled and not solid.

Depending on the underlying condition that is causing it, Baker's cyst can be treated without surgery in most cases. Non-surgical treatments can include:

  • Draining the fluid from the cyst with a needle and syringe.
  • Cortisone injection to reduce inflammation.
  • Rest
  • Raising one leg
  • Glaze to reduce inflammation
  • Physical therapy regimen to relieve swelling.
  • Treatment of the underlying disease

A study published in 2020 found that radiosynoviorthesis (a non-surgical technique that uses radioactive agents to repair the lining of a joint) can significantly reduce the volume of Baker's cysts .

Surgical removal of a Baker's cyst is an option if the cyst is painful or particularly bothersome. Even after surgical removal, Baker's cyst can reappear. However, in most cases, treating the lesion that caused Baker's cyst will relieve symptoms and reduce the likelihood of recurrence.

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