What is Trigger Finger and how can it be treated.

What is Trigger Finger and how can it be treated. 

As a plastic surgeon, I have the opportunity to operate on several areas of the body.  Our hands are vital to our everyday life and I enjoy being able to restore their function by performing carpal tunnel and trigger finger surgeries.  Today I would like to explain what trigger finger is and how it can be treated. 

The medical term for trigger finger is stenosing tenosynovitis, which describes the underlying disease which causes trigger finger. Our hands use tendons to help us flex our fingers.  The tendons pass through a series of tight bands called pulleys, which helps hold the tendons in place. When swelling occurs in these tendons, they are unable to pass through this tight pulley system and can “trigger”, or get stuck. Sometimes patients have to manually pry open or straighten the finger. Some patients even wake in the morning with their fingers in a flexed position. Understandably, this can cause some discomfort.

Luckily, trigger finger is relatively easy to treat. Depending on your symptoms and preferences, a steroid injection into the palm at the base of the finger is usually a good first step. Cure rates with a steroid injection are approximately 70%.  If there is a recurrence or persistent symptoms, a second steroid injection can be performed. From there, generally surgical intervention is required. 

If you require surgery, I have training in advanced reconstructive techniques, including hand surgery, and focus on suturing techniques that minimize scarring. The surgery involves making an approximately 1 cm incision over the base of the finger in the palm, to release one of the pulleys. The tendons are then able to pass freely through the remainder of the pulley system.  Surgery usually takes approximately 10 minutes and is performed outpatient. You are typically able to use your hand for light activities (such as typing) in a few days and will have near full use of your hand after four weeks

This surgery is usually covered by most insurance companies.  Call me today to schedule your consultation at our office located in Troy, Michigan.  248-524-0620. 

Dr. Sarah Elswick 

Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery

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