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Trigger Finger

Home / Surgical Services / Trigger Finger

Duration: 30 minutes

What is Trigger Finger?

Trigger finger, also known as Stenosing Tenosynovitis, is a painful condition in which the affected finger is unable to properly bend and extend. The affected finger or thumb gets stuck in a bent position and then straightens with a snap. If severe, the finger may become permanently bent and/or unable to straighten. This condition is caused by inflammation of the tendon or surrounding structures in the finger.

Symptoms of Trigger Finger

A trigger finger can manifest with a variety of signs and symptoms. Symptoms range from mild discomfort to severe pain. The affected finger can become stiff and sore. You may experience a popping or clicking sensation when trying to bend and extend the finger or the finger might catch in a bent position and suddenly pop into a straight position.  Furthermore, the finger can become locked in a bent position. Trigger finger most commonly occurs in your dominant hand and more than one finger can be affected at the same time. Both hands can be affected simultaneously.

Treatment Options for Trigger Finger

There are treatment options available for a trigger finger. A steroid solution can be injected into the tendon to reduce inflammation. This non-surgical option is especially effective if  performed quickly after the onset of symptoms. Injections can be repeated if symptoms persist, although the first injection is usually the most effective. Surgical release of the tendon by Dr. Ryan Diederich may be necessary if the injection treatment fails.

Who May Benefit from a Trigger Finger Surgery?

Trigger finger can be painful and bothersome. If the injection treatment did not improve your symptoms, you may be a good candidate for trigger finger surgery. Surgery at MidAmerica may be an option if:

  • you have been diagnosed with a trigger finger and your symptoms are bothersome.
  • injection treatment was not successful.
  • you are a non-smoker.
  • you do not have any medical conditions that impair your healing ability.

Before the Trigger Finger Surgery

  • Get lab testing or a medical evaluation as needed.
  • Take certain medications or adjust your current medications as recommended.
  • Stop smoking well in advance of your surgery.
  • Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding (if OK with your primary care physician. If you cannot stop, please let us know).
  • Get your pre- and post-surgery checklist.

The Day of the Trigger Finger Surgery

  • Completed as an outpatient or with hospital stay depending on your particular needs.
  • Nothing to eat or drink the day of surgery.
  • You will need someone to drive you home and stay with you for the first 24 hours.

After the Trigger Finger Surgery

Recovery is patient dependent.

Complications from Trigger Finger Surgery

As with any procedure, there are risks. Fortunately, with trigger finger surgery, these risks are minimal. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Bleeding (hematoma)
  • Blood clots
  • Infection
  • Anesthesia risks
  • Unfavorable scarring
  • Change in skin sensation
  • Skin contour irregularities
  • Skin discoloration/swelling
  • Poor healing of incisions
  • Unexpected hand swelling
  • Allergies to tape, suture materials and glues, blood products, topical preparations or injected agents
  • Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
  • Damage to deeper structures — such as nerves, blood vessels, muscles, and lungs — can occur and may be temporary or permanent
  • Pain, which may persist
  • Possibility of revisional surgery

Now What?

Dr. Ryan Diederich is a board-certified plastic surgeon specializing in a range of aesthetic and reconstructive plastic surgery procedures at Mid-America Institute of Plastic & Cosmetic Surgery in Glen Carbon, IL. If you’re looking for a plastic surgeon east of St. Louis, you can schedule a consultation online schedule a consultation online, or call us at (618) 288-7855 to schedule an appointment.

*This article is intended as a guideline only. This is not intended as medical advice. There are no guarantees written or implied from the information presented here. Only a consultation can provide an appropriate evaluation and discussion regarding any procedure. Refer to your physician for medical decision making and advice.