Preparing for trigger finger surgery
If you are scheduled for a trigger finger surgery, you need to prepare for the procedure by doing the following:
- Make sure someone will accompany you during the surgery. You will be given anaesthesia and pain medication during a trigger finger surgery. It is not safe to go home on your own after the procedure.
- Follow your doctor's instructions regarding food and drink restrictions before your trigger finger surgery.
- Let your doctor know about the medications and supplements you are currently taking. You may be asked to hold certain medications like blood thinners.
- Prepare the things you will need after surgery such as ice packs and medications. You may ask your doctor about what you need to prepare for your recovery.
- Make sure you have no nail polish. Do not apply lotion or perfumes before the surgery.
- Do not wear jewellery during the procedure. It will be best to leave your valuables at home.
During a trigger finger surgery
Before the surgery, a small flexible tube (IV) will be inserted into your vein to provide you with fluids and medicine during the procedure. You will also be given local anaesthesia to numb the area to be operated on.
Trigger finger surgery typically take less than an hour. Your doctor may perform any of these two types of trigger finger surgery:
- Open Surgery – The surgeon will make a half inch incision on your palm. Then, the surgeon will cut the tendon sheath. Stitches will be done to close the cut.
- Percutaneous release – In this procedure, there is no need for incision. After numbing your palm, your doctor will insert a needle into your skin. With the help of ultrasound imaging, the doctor will use the needle to break up the blocking tissue around the tendon sheath.
After a trigger finger surgery
After your surgery, you will be asked to stay in the recovery room about 1 to 2 hours before heading home. Your health condition will be monitored to make sure you are stable and comfortable.
A thick bandage will be wrapped around your hand, wrist, and finger. You should be able to move your finger right after surgery. Your doctor will prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs for pain relief and to reduce inflammation.
Recovery period for trigger finger surgery
Just like any other surgeries, you will likely feel some minor pain and discomfort after surgery. For several days, your finger and entire hand may feel sore and be difficult to move. You may feel numb or feel a tingling sensation near incision area which is normal. However, consult your doctor if your condition does not improve after a few days.
Do not allow your hand to get wet until you have your doctor’s approval. Cover your hand with plastic to keep the bandage dry.
1 – 2 weeks after the surgery, your doctor will remove the stitches. It may take several months before you completely heal. If you still feel pain after that, you may be required to do several hand exercises or undergo physical therapy.
Returning to work a day after the surgery is possible if your job does not require using the hand. However, if your work entails a lot of finger movements and lifting of things, you may need to take time off for at least 6 weeks. Ask your doctor can how much time you need to fully rest from work.
To help relieve your post-surgery pain and make your recovery faster, do the following:
- For a faster recovery, get enough rest and sleep.
- While there is no restriction in your diet, you should try to eat a balanced diet. If you have an upset stomach, go for low-fat, bland foods like broiled chicken and toast.
- Take medicines exactly as directed by your doctor, especially if you were prescribed antibiotics. Continue your medication even as you feel better. You need to complete the full course of your antibiotics.
- Keep your hands clean, but don't use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol in cleaning. Change the bandage daily.
- If needed, undergo finger and hand therapy. This will help you bring back the normal motion, strength, and grip of your hand.
- Place a cold pack or ice wrapped in thin cloth on your hand for about 10 to 20 minutes. Doing this every 1 to 2 hours for the first 3 days after the surgery will help prevent swelling.
- Prop up your hand on a pillow anytime you sit or lie down during the first 2 or 3 days after surgery. Try to keep the hand above the level of your heart. This will help reduce swelling.
- Make sure to attend your medical check-ups after the surgery.
Risks/complications of trigger finger surgery
Trigger finger surgery is a safe procedure. However, just like in other surgeries, there is a risk of complications that may arise from a trigger finger surgery. Call your doctor or seek emergency care if you experience any of the following:
- Trouble breathing or shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Coughing up blood
- Change of colour of your hand or fingers
- Numbness or tingling sensation in your hand or fingers
- Inability to move fingers
- Pain that does not improve after taking pain medicine
- Loose stitches
- Heavy bleeding in the area of incision
- Increased pain, swelling, warmth or redness
- Pus coming from the area of incision
- Swollen lymph nodes