What is Trigger Finger Release?

An operation that frees the tendon in your hand is called trigger finger release.

Effects of Trigger Finger Release

Trigger finger release is effective in making the finger move freely as soon as the post-operative swelling has disappeared.

Candidates for Trigger Finger Release

Surgery may be necessary for those whose finger or thumb is in a locked position and if conventional treatment is not successful.

Your Consultation

Prior to the procedure, you will have a few basic tests done, such as pulse, temperature, and blood pressure. You should advise the doctor of any allergies to drugs or dressings. After that, the doctor will interview and examine you. He will also describe the operation to you and check that everything is in order.

The Trigger Finger Release Procedure

Normally, the doctor basically needs to cut the band that is constricting the tendon as it passes through the sheath. You may be requested to move the tendon throughout the surgery to confirm that it has been released. In some cases, the doctor may need to take away the part of the tendon sheath that is causing the tendon to get stuck.

Surgery is usually done on an outpatient basis using local anesthesia. The doctor decides on the type of incision and it may be straight, transverse or zigzag. The incision will typically be centered over the start of the pulley and is close to the last transverse crease of the palm. In the thumb, the incision is done where the thumb joins the hand. The doctor divides the constricted pulley, which instantly allows it to open up and release its hold on the swollen tendon. In some instances, a few of the thickened tissues that enclose the tendons will be removed. A number of small sutures will be employed to close the incision and a dressing, which permits some finger or thumb movement. The dressing may be taken out after several days so that full motion can be attained. It is suggested that the hand be kept clean and dry until the sutures are removed at 10 to 14 days.

Recovery

Recovery from trigger finger surgery is generally fast, although the surgical site stays tender and somewhat firm for several weeks. Activities that entail pressure against the palm should perhaps be prevented for 2 to 6 weeks after the procedure.

A light dressing will be applied to the hand to allow the fingers to move but still protect the wound. Following surgery, it is imperative to rest and reduce the activity of the affected finger or thumb, hand and wrist for about 4 to 6 months.

Risks

Complications are rare but may hinder the capacity to attain a satisfactory result in several patients. Infection could significantly compromise wound healing and could even create adhesions that restrict tendon gliding and finger or thumb motion. Although rare, nerve injury can at times result from the retraction used for surgical exposure or direct laceration during the procedure – causing temporary or even permanent numbness in one or more digits. The enhanced tendon gliding that is accomplished by the surgery is usually permanent, but on rare instances, it continues or recurs, requiring added treatment. In some patients, the tenderness in the palm endures for an unusually long time after the procedure.

FAQs

What is trigger finger?

It is a common disorder of the hand that results in a painful catching of the fingers or thumb. The medical name for the condition is stenosing tenosynovitis, which refers to an inflammation and narrowing of the outer covering or sheath that surrounds the tendons that bend the fingers.

What are the causes of trigger finger?

The cause is hard to define in a lot of cases of trigger finger. Many doctors believe that repetitive strain of the area might bring about trigger finger. Tasks that necessitate repeated grasping or the lengthened use of tools (scissors, screwdrivers) that press on the tendon sheath at the base of the finger or thumb may also aggravate the tendons and the tendon sheath, causing them to thicken. Trigger finger is also linked with other conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, gout and metabolic disorders like diabetes.

What are the symptoms of trigger finger?

One of the first indications of trigger finger may be discomfort or tenderness in the palm precisely beneath the affected finger or thumb. This is the spot where the tendon sheath enters the finger. The most evident symptom for most people is when the finger or thumb actually has the painful “triggering” or locking problem. Other probable symptoms of trigger finger are swelling or stiffness in the fingers and soreness in the affected finger or thumb. Leaving trigger finger untreated may cause it to become closed in a bent position or, less likely, in a straightened position.

Will the surgery hurt?

You may experience some discomfort but the wound is usually pain-free. You will be provided with painkillers to take home and these should ease the discomfort.