Review of Histology Results of Hand Masses: A South African Audit

Christian Vyamungu1, Pascaline Fru2, Tatolo Sefeane3, Cynthia Sathekga3, Elias Ndobe1.
1-Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, School of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
2-Department of Surgery, School of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand,7 York Road, Parktown, Johannesburg, South Africa
3-Department of Orthopedic Surgery, School of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg South Africa.

Correspondence to: Dr. Christian Vyamungu; Email:

Received: 12th November 2020; Revised: 10th January 2021; Accepted: 3rd February 2021; Available online: 9th March 2021 


Background: Patients with hand masses present for consultation either for pain, loss of function, or cosmetic embarrassment caused by the mass. The majority of hand masses are benign soft tissue tumors. The aim was to review the histology results of hand masses operated on at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital Hand Unit in Johannesburg, South Africa, to explore the relationship of the types of masses according to age, sex, side, and compare the findings with what is in the current literature. Methods: Patients operated on in the hand unit, for hand masses between April 2016 and April 2019 with histology results were included in the study for statistical analysis. Results: There were 64 males and 105 females with a mean age of 41.03 ± 18.81 years. The most frequent masses were ganglion cysts. Females appeared to be more affected than males by the different hand masses, but there were no statistically significant differences. Of the 21 giant cell tumors, 15 occurred on the right hand (p-value = 0.021). Conclusion: The profile of hand masses at a high-volume hand unit in Johannesburg, were comparable to the reported literature. There were no significant differences between sex and diagnosis, however, there was a relationship between diagnosis and side for giant cell tumors of tendon sheaths (GCTs), requiring further exploration.


Keywords: Hand masses, hand tumor, hand growth, ganglion cyst, giant cell tumor

Conflicts of Interest: None
Funding: None

© 2021 Author. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


The Annals of African Surgery is the official publication of the Surgical Society of Kenya.


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