A common ailment involving the painful triggering or locking of the thumb is that it can significantly interfere with hand function as well as the performance of other routine activities. In many cases, trigger thumb surgery may have to be performed.
How do I prepare for trigger thumb surgery?
Always ask your surgeon for complete pre-operative preparation instructions. Typically, these may include:
* Definitely arrange to have a relative or friend drive you home from the hospital.
* One week before surgery you should refrain from taking aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs).
* Refrain from eating or drinking anything after midnight the night before surgery.
What happens during trigger thumb surgery?
Comfortably on your back,with your hand out to the side, the procedure is then performed in an operating room. The hand is cleaned and usually draped sterilely, which prevents you from being able to see it. Typically, the surgeon will then release the band, or pulley, that is restricting the tendon. You may be asked to move the tendon during the trigger thumb surgery to make sure it has been completely released and, that the clicking and locking has been eliminated.
Here is a surgical video to help you understand what happens during trigger thumb surgery.
What happens after trigger thumb surgery?
To close the incision, two to three small sutures are used and, a sterile dressing is applied. Depending on the exact situation, the dressing will be removed by the patient five to seven days later and a sterile bandage will be applied and changed daily by the patient.
The incision should be kept clean, dry and covered until the sutures are removed 10 to 14 days following the trigger thumb operation. During this period, motion of the thumb is encouraged, from full flexion into full extension. However, heavy gripping, pulling and pushing are discouraged. Everyday activities are allowed during this time period.
How long is the recovery period after surgery?
In general, use of the thumb is restricted from heavier activities for a period of three weeks. The incision will be tender for six to eight weeks but will improve steadily over that time. Length of recovery is dependent upon joint contractures that may have developed prior to surgery. Sometimes fairly prolonged therapy (one to two months) is required to overcome these contractures.
What is the rehab after surgery?
The day of the first post-operative visit, patients are instructed on a specific range-of-motion program. Depending on their condition, they may see a hand therapist. Five to seven days later, they are started on a scar massage program which may incorporate use of a “scar conformer” at night. The scar conformer may be made of silicone and places direct, mild pressure over the incision to help minimize scarring and maximize remodeling and healing of the tissues. If a joint contracture was present prior to surgery the patient may be given a splint to help supplement their exercise program and eliminate these contractures.
How can I manage at home during recovery from the procedure?
Immediately following surgery, daily activities are allowed. Heavier or repetitive activities are discouraged. The wound should be kept clean, dry and covered. You do not have to wear a splint and, you will be able to change your own dressing. Your doctor will advise you regarding showering.
How frequently should I schedule follow up appointments with my doctor following surgery?
The first post-operative visit will take place 10-14 days following trigger thumb surgery, and often the surgeon will see the patient one more time in another two to three weeks.
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