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What Is a Hip Cyst?

Osteoarthritis may cause hip cysts.
Hip pain may be a sign of a hip cyst.
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  • Written By: C. Peete
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 22 March 2014
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A hip cyst is a cyst that forms on the hipbone as a result of trauma or injury to the hip, such as a fracture. In some cases, a hip cyst might be the result of another disease or illness in the body, such as cancer. Pain in the hip is a first indicator of a hip cyst, although some cysts occur without pain. Hip cysts usually are detected on an X-ray that is performed for another medical reason.

A subchondral hip cyst is a common type usually seen in the early stages of osteoarthritis. The cyst forms in the subchondral layer of bone below the cartilage and extrudes from the joint. It is filled with hyaluronic acid and joint fluid and sometimes causes discomfort. Subchondral cysts often go away on their own without requiring medical attention. Patients suffering from painful subchondral hip cysts can find relief through the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and are advised to avoid any activity that might irritate the joint.

Another type of hip cyst is a synovial cyst. Synovial cysts are small, fluid-filled sacs that form over a tendon on the hip or the joint itself and create a mass underneath the skin. Cysts of this kind tend to be the result of rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and repetitive motion of the joint over a long period of time. The cyst might be painful initially before becoming painless after a few months.

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The size of a synovial cyst can fluctuate with activity, and the cyst can go away and recur after a period of time. The mass under the skin usually is soft but can become firm over time. Depending on where a synovial hip cyst is located, the affected limb might feel numb or tingly to the touch.

Some synovial cysts spontaneously rupture on their own and provide relief from the pain. Medical attention might be required for recurrent or longstanding painful cases. Treatment might involve drainage with a long-gauge needle followed by injection with a corticosteroid drug to shrink or dissolve the cyst. A cyst also might be removed through surgery or through fluoroscopically guided removal.

Hip cysts can recur even after drainage and corticosteroid injection, and they often do. Surgical removal might provide the best possible chance of non-recurrence. The prognosis for a hip cyst that is cancerous depends on the type of cancer and the extent to which it has spread. Most patients resume full mobility after allowing sufficient time for healing after surgery.

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Discuss this Article

anon314317
Post 5

My 80 year old Mother has a subchondral cyst in her hip and also has osteoarthritis. She is in quite a lot of pain but cannot take anti-inflammatory drugs because she is on statins for high blood pressure. Does anyone have any advice as to what she can do to relieve the pain?

anon312142
Post 4

I would like somone's opinion on my subchondral cyst. A few years ago, I started to have severe pain upon sitting. It felt like a rock was lodged into my right acetabulum/hip, but I felt the pain in the bottom of my, well, bottom, also there was some swelling. I was referred to a surgeon, who said, "I wouldn't touch you with a ten foot pole."

Another year of pain, and I was sent back to same surgeon with the same results. I saw another surgeon on the same day, same office, and was told not to sit.

It's been another two years now, still painful, including burning down the back of my leg to the back of my knee. Also my right buttock has shrunk and has several creases. Any advice for me?

gregg1956
Post 3

Unfortunately, things like hip cysts tend to become part of normal conversation as you get older. It's so strange, people who never went to medical school in their life will start talking about the pros and cons of different hip treatments, and the different methods of determining hip conditions by pathology.

I guess that's just one of the things that comes along with getting old -- everybody has something go wrong with them, so everybody starts learning all the medical jargon.

The worst is how everybody has to share it though. I mean, I've had my fair share of surgeries, but I don't go around talking about them.

I honestly think that this is one of the worst parts about aging -- as if it needed more!

lightning88
Post 2

My aunt recently went in for a hip Xray because she had been having some pretty bad hip pain, and it turned out that she had a paralabral cyst!

Apparently the cartilage ring that surrounds the hip socket had gotten a cyst, which had grown large enough to cause her pain -- in fact, it had even slightly displaced the bone!

Fortunately for us the paralabral cyst of the hip treatment options are pretty simple -- drain it or cut it. She ended up having the cyst aspirated a few times, but that started causing some hip edema, so she finally just went the whole hog and got the thing cut out.

Even though the procedure was more invasive, and the recovery time was longer, she said that it was totally worth it to not have to have that constant, aching pain in her hips.

I'm just glad that I now know the symptoms, so I can keep a watch out for it when I start to get to be her age. I really hope I never have to deal with a paralabral cyst of any kind, but at least I kind of know what I could expect if it ever did happen.

CopperPipe
Post 1

Could you tell me what it would indicate if a person began to show hip cyst symptoms after having surgery for hip sclerosis?

My father recently underwent surgery for hip sclerosis brought on by advanced rheumatoid arthritis. He seemed to be doing well for a few months, but now he's starting to complain of symptoms again, and I'm wondering if it couldn't be caused by a hip cyst.

I once had a cyst in my knee, and the way he's describing the pain is exactly like what I felt. He said it's not the same kind of pain that he felt before with the sclerosis and RA.

So what do you think? Is that enough to make a hip cyst diagnosis, or should I bring him back to see his doctor? I'd appreciate any information you could give me on the topic, we're getting pretty desperate.

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