Dr. Peter Gott answered the question in his online column:
DEAR READER: A Baker's cyst is an accumulation of joint fluid behind the knee. Most cysts do not cause symptoms, but, occasionally, large cysts may cause discomfort and/or stiffness. In fact, most cysts are recognized only after they rupture, a process that can cause pain, swelling and bruising.
Baker's cysts can occur in anyone of any age. The most common cause in older people is arthritis. Your cyst has probably been there for a while but was worsened by further injury.
Treatment is usually aimed at repairing the underlying cause. In your case, that would be the arthritis. I hope you misunderstood your orthopedist when he recommended a knee replacement. It is not appropriate therapy to treat a Baker's cyst; knee replacement would certainly help your arthritic knee, however.
Most Baker's cysts disappear on their own, but, depending on the cause and severity, it can take months or perhaps even years for that to happen. For those that cause severe pain and interfere with normal movement, there are a few treatments available. The most common is aspiration, in which a physician drains the cyst with a needle and syringe.
Very rarely, it may be necessary to remove the cyst surgically. This is avoided as much as possible because of the risk of damaging surrounding tissue, blood vessels and nerves located behind the knee.
I recommend you get a second opinion and start treating your arthritis, which should help resolve the cyst.
Copyright 1994-2016 MedHelp International. All rights reserved.
MedHelp is a division of Aptus Health.
This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information.
The Content on this Site is presented in a summary fashion, and is intended to be used for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be and should not be interpreted as medical advice or a diagnosis of any health or fitness problem, condition or disease; or a recommendation for a specific test, doctor, care provider, procedure, treatment plan, product, or course of action. Med Help International, Inc. is not a medical or healthcare provider and your use of this Site does not create a doctor / patient relationship. We disclaim all responsibility for the professional qualifications and licensing of, and services provided by, any physician or other health providers posting on or otherwise referred to on this Site and/or any Third Party Site. Never disregard the medical advice of your physician or health professional, or delay in seeking such advice, because of something you read on this Site. We offer this Site AS IS and without any warranties. By using this Site you agree to the following Terms and Conditions. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.