Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy

, Volume 14, Issue 7, pp 623-628

First online:

The popliteal cyst

  • Daniel FritschyAffiliated withDépartement de Chirurgie, Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève Email author 
  • , Jean FaselAffiliated withDivision d’Anatomie, Centre Médical Universitaire de Genève
  • , Jean-Claude ImbertAffiliated withClinique Digonnière
  • , Stefano BianchiAffiliated withDépartement de Radiologie, Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève
  • , René VerdonkAffiliated withKliniek voor Orthopedie
  • , Carl Joachim WirthAffiliated withOrthopädische Klinik, Medizinische Hochschule Hannover

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A popliteal cyst, originally called Baker’s cyst, is a synovial fluid-filled mass located in the popliteal fossa. The most common synovial popliteal cyst is considered to be a distension of the bursa located beneath the medial head of the gastrocnemius muscle. Usually, in an adult patient, an underlying intra-articular disorder is present. In children, the cyst can be isolated and the knee joint normal. The anatomy, etiopathogenesis, clinical presentation, differential diagnosis, imaging and treatment modalities of the popliteal cyst are presented. The authors try to answer some questions dealing with this condition. Is the cyst isolated, can it be treated as such, is its origin always well-defined and does surgical excision provide a permanent cure?


Popliteal cyst Baker’s cyst Synovial cyst Knee pathology Swelling of the knee