New CKS for Baker’s Cyst

The NHS Clinical Knowledge Summaries has published a new topic which covers the management of Baker’s Cyst in primary care.  This CKS topic does not cover, in any detail, the management of Baker’s Cyst in secondary care.  The target audience for this CKS topic is healthcare professionals working within the NHS in England, and providing first contact or primary health care but is useful information for all health care professionals.

A Baker’s cyst (also known as popliteal cyst or popliteal bursa) is a synovial swelling located behind the knee.
Most commonly, it appears between the tendons of the medial head of the gastrocnemius and semimembranosus muscles on the medial side of the popliteal fossa, slightly distal to the centre crease of the knee.
A Baker’s cyst is not a true cyst, but a distention of the gastrocnemius-semimembranosus bursa which bulges beyond these muscles.  Baker’s cysts are classified as primary or secondary.

  • Primary cysts have no communication with the knee joint; they are not associated with disease of the knee joint, and are found mainly in children.
  • Secondary cysts communicate freely with the rest of the knee joint and are associated with underlying disease of the knee joint, frequently osteoarthritis. In adults, almost all Baker’s cysts are secondary cysts.

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The NHS Clinical Knowledge Summaries are a reliable source of evidence-based information and practical ‘know how’ about the common conditions managed in primary care.  CKS is commissioned and paid for by NHS Evidence, a service provided by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.  CKS is aimed at healthcare professionals working in primary and first-contact care.

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