Making Decisions About Home Care

FAQs About Trigger Finger Surgery

by Mae Ferguson

Developing trigger finger can be really bothersome. When your finger bends and refuses to straighten, it becomes very difficult to do things like open packages, type, and even hold a pencil. Thankfully, there is a surgical procedure that can be used to correct trigger finger. Many orthopedic surgeons have experience performing it. Here are some questions you might have if you are considering this surgery.

Do you have to be put under for the surgery?

No. In most cases, you will not need general anesthesia for trigger finger surgery. Your doctor can instead give you a local or regional anesthetic to numb your hand and arm during the procedure. You can also take a sedative to keep you calm during the procedure if desired. Many patients do choose to take the sedative simply because it makes the experience less stressful. Because general anesthesia is not required, you can generally go home a few hours after the procedure. You will need someone to drive you home, but not because of the drugs, but because your hand has just been operated upon.

What actually happens during the surgery?

First, your orthopedic surgeon will make a small incision into the palm of your hand. This may seem strange since it is your finger that is bent. However, trigger finger is usually caused by a shortening of one of the tendons that connects through your palm. Through this incision, your surgeon will be able to make a cut in the affected tendon. They may cut it completely, or they may cut partway through the scar tissue that is contracting and causing it to shorten. The surgeon will then stitch up your incision. Usually, only a few stitches are needed.

What is recovery like?

Most patients have some swelling, pain, and soreness after surgery, but it does not last more than a couple of weeks. You should be able to move your finger after surgery. Many orthopedic surgeons will send you for a few weeks of physical therapy so you can do some exercises that will increase the range of motion, keep the tendon stretched, and promote better healing. You can usually take NSAIDs, as needed, during recovery.

The right procedure can help to correct this ailment, and it is quite simple to undergo. Your surgeon can give you information better suited to your unique case.

Contact a local orthopedic surgeon to find out more.