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Carpal Bossing

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Updated November 20, 2008

Definition: Carpal bossing is the name given to a condition that causes a bony lump on the back of the hand. The carpal boss occurs at the junction of the long hand bones and the small wrist bones.

Is carpal bossing a type of cancer?
No. Carpal bossing is due to bone growth at the base of the metacarpal bones of the hand. Carpal bossing must be differentiated from other more common wrist conditions such as:

What are the symptoms of carpal bossing?
Most patients complain of a carpal boss after they bump or hit against the back of the wrist. This type of trauma can cause irritation around the carpal boss. The tendons over the back of the hand can also become irritated because of the carpal bossing. Lastly, some patients simply do not like the cosmetic appearance of the bump on their hand.

What is the treatment of carpal bossing?
Most often, carpal bossing is a problem that can simply be watched, with no specific treatment. In cases where the condition is causing significant symptoms, a surgical procedure to remove the excess bone can be performed. There are conflicting reports in the literature as to how likely it may be that the bump returns after excision, but it is possible.

Sources:

"The symptomatic carpal boss. Is simple excision enough?" J Hand Surg, Br. 1999 Oct;24(5):591-5.

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