Trigger Finger Release

When should it be considered?

Trigger
finger is caused by a thickening on the tendon catching as it runs in
and out of the sheath or tunnel. When more conservative treatments,
such as cortisone injections, have failed to allow the finger to move
freely, surgery should be considered.

How to prepare for surgery.

As
you prepare for the surgery you should educate yourself about the
procedure. Knowing what to expect can ease many fears and make recovery
much smoother. If possible, find someone who has had the surgery to
talk to. 

You may be “one handed” for a while
after surgery. Plan for it now. Organize things so that everything is
reachable with your “good” hand from all your favorite chairs. 

What happens during the surgery?

The
procedure is usually done with a local anaesthetic or a nerve block. A
small incision is made in the palm of the hand. Thickening or lumps on
the tendon may be scraped off or a slit is made in the tendon sheath to
allow the tendon to move freely.

What happens after surgery?

The
procedure is done as an out patient surgery. Your hand may be numb for
up to ten hours after the surgery. You will be discharged with a bulky
dressing on the hand. 

Some of the normal home-going instructions include:

Keep the hand elevated as much as possible for several days.

Typically you can remove the dressing in three days. 

Physically therapy may or may not be ordered.

Keep the incision clean and dry. If any swelling, increased pain,
drainage from the incision site, redness around the incision, or fever
is noticed, report this immediately to the doctor. 

What is the expected outcome of a Trigger Finger Release?

This
is usually a very successful surgery. The finger should move freely
once the post operative swelling has disappeared. In some instances
triggering may reoccur or triggering can occur in other fingers.

What complications may occur?

As with any surgery, infection and bleeding are possible. 
You will have a scar in the palm of your hand. This might be tender and
hard for up to 8 weeks after surgery. Massaging with a moisturizing
cream may help.
There is a very small chance
of nerve damage during surgery, if this would happen the nerve would be
repaired right away.

References:
Clinical Reference Systems 2000, Adult Health Advisor
H.J.C.R. Belcher, MS, FRCS (Plast), Consultant Hand & Plastic Surgeon