Key Points about Trigger Finger Surgery

  • Trigger finger is a condition that causes the finger to lock in a bent position as if pulling a trigger. It can affect any finger, including the thumb.
  • Trigger finger occurs when the sheath surrounding the tendon is inflamed. Trigger finger surgery, called tenolysis, releases the tendon sheath so that it has more space and can move more easily.
  • Trigger finger surgery is a quick procedure with a high success rate. Full recovery with no pain typically takes four to six months.

Overview

If you have tried non-surgical options with no success, your health care team may recommend trigger finger surgery. Trigger finger surgery is a fairly common and simple procedure with high rates of success.

Trigger finger surgery is an outpatient procedure that does not require general anesthesia. You will likely be given a local anesthetic to numb the area. Through a small incision in the palm, an orthopedic surgeon will release the tendon sheath by cutting it. The goal is for the tendon to be able to move more easily. The surgeon will use stitches to close the incision. You will be able to return home after the procedure.

Trigger finger surgery candidates

Your health care team will help you decide if trigger finger surgery is the best choice for you. If non-surgical treatments such as medication, steroid injections, splinting, and activity modification have been unsuccessful, your health care team may recommend trigger finger surgery.

Trigger finger surgery risks

There are risks associated with all surgeries. The risks of trigger finger surgery include:

  • Infection
  • Nerve damage
  • Damage to blood vessels
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Numbness
  • Scarring
  • Stiffness
  • Incomplete release, which means the finger does not have complete range of motion after surgery

Trigger finger surgery preparation

Your health care team will give you instructions to prepare for trigger finger surgery. They may include:

  • Gathering everything you will need post-surgery, including ice packs and medication.
  • Do not eat anything on the day of surgery.
  • Your doctor will give you a mild IV sedative to help you relax after surgery.

Trigger finger surgery expectations

Trigger finger surgery is considered minor surgery and is typically an outpatient procedure. Trigger finger surgery typically takes approximately 20 minutes. You should expect some pain after the procedure. Your hand will be wrapped in a soft dressing. You will be able to return home shortly after surgery.

After trigger finger surgery

Recovery after trigger finger surgery is simple. You should be able to gently move your finger immediately after trigger finger surgery.

You will likely be able to remove the dressing from your hand after a few days, after which you will need to keep the surgical site clean.

If you have stitches, they will likely dissolve or be removed within three weeks. Your physician will inform you on how soon you can resume a full range of activities after trigger finger surgery.

Recovery varies from person to person, and some people may experience mild swelling, pain, or stiffness for up to six months after surgery.