What You Should Expect When You Have Surgery To Loosen Your "Trigger-Finger"

If you wake up one day and have a finger stuck in a position like you're pulling the trigger on a gun and it won't straighten up right away, chances are you've got a "trigger-finger." Trigger fingers result from damage caused by an illness or injury to the flexor tendons in your hands or the sheaths the tendon runs through as they extend to your fingertips. You can have surgery to repair the damage to the sheath so the tendon can fit back through it. If you have a trigger-finger and you are thinking of having surgery to repair the damage, here is an overview of what you should expect during and after the surgery.

Day of Surgery

Surgery to loosen the sheath along a finger is typically done on an outpatient basis only at the doctor's office or clinic. You will be asked to lie down on a table and place your outstretched arm on a surgical board. A nurse will place a blocking device between your head and hand so you can't see what the surgeon is doing. This is done so you don't try to reflexively move your hand while the surgeon works.


You hand will be numbed with a local anesthesia. A local anesthesia only works to numb the area where the medication is injected. You will be completely awake during the procedure. However, if you feel the procedure will cause you too much stress, you can talk you your surgeon about getting a dose of nitrous oxide or some other medication to relieve your anxiety.


The surgeon will create a small incision, usually in the palm of your hand, and slip a tiny blade through the palm and up the side of the finger until it gets to the sheath the surgeon wants to loosen. The surgeon will cut part of the sheath with the blade. As the sheath heals, it will naturally loosen.

Recovery Time

The cut sheath will completely heal within a couple of months, but you should be able to use all your fingers right away. You will typically have a little pain in your palm and finger for a couple of days after the surgery. Your surgeon will typically prescribe a medication like ibuprofen to help you deal with any discomfort.


There are a few complications that could occur if you have this surgery that you should talk about with your surgeon. There are times when patients can't fully extend their finger anymore or the finger gets stuck in a bow-like arched position. In some cases, the trigger-finger action gets worse. Your surgeon will be able to explain the complications fully and how one might affect your specific case.

For more information, contact local professionals like Town Center Orthopaedic Associates, P.C.

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