Spine Conditions

Synovial Cyst

A synovial cyst is a fluid-filled sac that develops along the spine. It is also known as a ganglion cyst or a juxtafacet cyst. The cyst is usually located in the lower back (lumbar spine) and may cause pain, stiffness, and weakness in the back, buttocks, and legs.


The symptoms of a synovial cyst can vary, depending on its size and location. Some people may not experience any symptoms at all. Common symptoms of a synovial cyst include:

  • Pain in the lower back, buttocks, and legs
  • Numbness or tingling in the legs
  • Weakness in the legs
  • Difficulty walking or standing
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control (in severe cases)



The exact cause of synovial cysts is unknown. However, they are believed to develop as a result of degenerative changes in the spine. As the spinal joints wear down over time, the protective fluid that surrounds the joints may leak out and form a cyst. Risk factors for developing a synovial cyst include:

  • Age: The risk of developing a synovial cyst increases with age.
  • Spinal arthritis: People with spinal arthritis are more likely to develop synovial cysts.
  • Previous spine surgery: People who have had spine surgery in the past may be at higher risk of developing a synovial cyst.
  • Trauma: A spinal injury or trauma may increase the risk of developing a synovial cyst.

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