Baker cyst (popliteal cyst)
A Baker cyst, also called a popliteal cyst, is swelling caused by
knee joint fluid protruding to the back of the knee (popliteal area of
A Baker's cyst is usually the result of a problem with your knee
joint, such as arthritis or a cartilage tear. Both conditions can
cause your knee to produce too much fluid, which can lead to a Baker's
cyst. Treating the larger problem usually relieves the swelling and
discomfort of a Baker's cyst.
Symptoms and signs
These cysts occur most often in adults between 55 and 70, and in
children between 4 and 7 years old.
It may be asymptomatic however, usually there is:
- Swelling behind the knee
- Pain and tightness
A noninvasive imaging scan, such as an ultrasound or a magnetic
resonance imaging (MRI) scan, can help distinguish between a simple
cyst and a tumor.
It is important to treat the cause of the cyst besides the cyst
itself. By removing the cyst without the removal of the initiating
cause there will remain a chance that the cyst may recur.
- Fluid drainage is associated with a high recurrence rate.
- Injection of corticosteroids in the cyst usually decreases the
amount of fluid in the cyst and may decrease the pain but doesn't
Surgical excision (removal) of the cyst if it is large enough to
cause distress or removal of the torn ligament if that has been
determined to be the cause of the cyst.
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