Trigger finger release is surgery to enlarge the narrow part of the tunnel (tendon sheath) where the long strings (tendons) that run from the muscles in the forearm to the end of each finger allowing the fingers to bend and straighten, pass through. This is needed when the tendon in the finger becomes inflamed or forms a lump that catches on the sheath surrounding it, causing the finger to lock either fully bent or straightened.

Understanding the procedure

Trigger finger release is performed through a small incision (cut) in the palm or sometimes with the tip of a needle. The tendon will be released by making a cut into the sheath that surrounds it. Once the tendon has been released, the surgeon will ask the person to move the fingers and make a fist. This is to check that the tendon is completely released. When it heals back together, the sheath is looser and the tendon has more room to move through it.

The procedure is usually done on an outpatient basis, meaning no overnight hospital stay, using a local anesthesia to numb the hand.

Indications for the procedure

This procedure is usually recommended when persistent locking of the finger does not respond to more conservative methods, such as physical therapy as splinting and anti-inflammatory medication, and interfere with activities of daily living.