Trigger Finger

What is it?

Trigger finger is a clicking or snapping that occurs on bending or straightening the fingers or thumb. Fingers can also lock
in the bent (more common) or straightened position. The condition results when the tendons that bend the finger
get caught in the narrow tunnels which hold the tendon attached to the bones of the fingers. When the finger bends
or straightens, the tight tunnel causes the tendon to develop a lump (such as when you catch part of a thread when
threading a needle) and the lump stops the tendon from gliding freely. The problem usualy occurs in the palm of the
hand just at the base of the finger and pain is felt in this area as well as the finger. Trigger finger is more common in people
who have carpal tunnel syndrome or who have had a carpal tunnel released, and in people with diabetes and some forms
of arthritis. More commonly however it occurs as an isolated phenomenon with no associations.

How is it treated?

Steroid injections into the area can reduce the inflammation that causes the tendon lump. This will cure the condition
completely in most cases. Occasionaly a second injection is required. It should be noted that this is a local steroid and
will not spread around the body.
If the problem is ongoing the condition can be dealt with as minor day surgery under local anaesthesia (with some
sedation if required). This surgery involves enlarging the narrow tunnel through which the tendon passes, allowing it to
glide freely rather than catching. This is a brief procedure and results in a small scar on the palm of the hand. Complications
of this surgery are rare and can include wound infection or bleeding, hand stiffness and scar tenderness. Usually recovery
is rapid (a matter of weeks) and complete.

Is Mr Callan experienced at this procedure?

Mr Callan has over 20 years experience at this procedure. He performs trigger finger release however only rarely as steroid
injections fix most of them. As a fully trained plastic surgeon, Mr Callan performs this procedure to the highest standard
available.

What are the results of surgery?

Usually excellent. It can be uncomfortable for a while bu tusually comes completely good.

What happens after surgery?

After surgery the hand is rested in a bandage. It is very important to elevate the hand to minimise swelling. A small
proportion of people have difficulty with moving and can have a painful, stiff hand for some weeks. A few people develop
a painful condition called reflex sympathetic dystrophy or chronic regional pain syndrome, with sweating, stiffness and
sensitivity to cold. It is very rare.

And the future?

Surgery is normally a permanent fix for those cases where a steroid injection fails.

Will I need to be seen after surgery?

Yes. We will keep in close contact with you by telephone for the first few days, then wil see you about ten days after
surgery, then at three weeks and at three months. You are of course welcome to call or visit any time with any concerns