Often no treatment is necessary and the practitioner can observe the cyst over time. If the cyst is painful, treatment is usually aimed at correcting the underlying problem, such as arthritis or a meniscus tear. Removal of the cyst is generally not done because it may damage nearby blood vessels and nerves.
Sometimes, a cyst can be drained (aspirated) or, in rare cases, removed surgically, if the cyst becomes excessively large or causes symptoms.
A Baker’s cyst will not cause any long-term harm, but can be annoying and painful. Baker’s cysts usually go away on their own, but how fast this occurs varies from person to person.
Long-term disability is rare, as most cases improve with time or arthroscopic surgery.
Complications are unusual, but may include:
- Long-term pain and swelling
- Complications from associated injuries, like meniscal tears
Calling Your Health Care Provider
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if there is a swelling behind the knee that becomes large or painful. Pain could be a sign of infection, which is not normally associated with Baker’s cyst.
Review Date : 7/10/2009
Reviewed By : Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; and C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Dept. of Orthopaedic Surgery. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.