Trigger Finger Surgery
What is Trigger Finger?
Trigger Finger, also known as stenosing tenosynovitis or flexor tendonitis, is a condition where one of the fingers or the thumb of the hand is caught in a bent position. The affected digit may straighten with a quick snap, similar to pulling and releasing the trigger on a gun, hence the name trigger finger.
Symptoms of Trigger Finger
Commonly reported symptoms associated with trigger finger include the following:
- Bent finger suddenly pops out and straightens
- Finger movement creates a “popping” or “clicking” sound or sensation
- Finger feels stiff and sore
- Finger becomes bent with inability to straighten
- Symptoms are worse in the morning
Causes of Trigger Finger
Trigger finger is caused by inflammation of the tenosynovium. The tenosynovium is the substance that lines the protective sheath around the tendon in the finger. This substance enables the tendon to glide smoothly within the sheath when the finger is bent or straightened. When inflammation is present, the tendon is unable to glide smoothly within its sheath causing “catching” of the finger in a bent position and then suddenly releasing the finger straight. Causes of trigger finger can include the following:
Surgery for Trigger Finger
If conservative treatment options fail to resolve trigger finger symptoms for 6 months or more and your quality of life is adversely affected, your surgeon may recommend you undergo a percutaneous trigger finger release of the tendon. This surgery is usually performed in an operating room under local or regional anesthesia on an outpatient basis as day surgery. Your surgeon makes one small incision, about inch long, to the affected finger area. The surgeon then releases the tight portion of the flexor tendon sheath. The incision is then closed with a couple of sutures and covered with a sterile dressing.
Postoperative Care for Trigger Finger Surgery
After surgery, your surgeon will give you following guidelines:
- Keep the surgical incision clean and dry. Cover the area with plastic wrap when bathing or showering.
- Ice packs to the surgical area may be used to reduce pain and swelling.
- The bandage is usually removed after a couple days.
- Once the bandage is removed, full movement of the finger is encouraged.
- Eat a healthy diet and avoid smoking to promote healing
Risks Associated with Trigger Finger Surgery
Most patients suffer no complications following trigger finger surgery; however, complications can occur and include:
- Nerve damage causing weakness, paralysis, or loss of feeling in the hand area
- Stiffness to the finger
- Persistent trigger finger symptoms if the sheath is not adequately released