Trigger finger surgery is a very safe solution to a tendon problem, which causes the finger (or thumb) to “catch,” rather than extending and curling smoothly. In some cases, a trigger finger or thumb can become stuck in the curled position. It can become so securely curled in toward the palm that it may not be straightened—even if you attempt to straighten it using your other hand. Trigger finger surgery recovery is generally quick and uneventful, with a small amount of residual swelling for up to 6 months.

To minimize the chance of complications, speed your trigger finger surgery recovery and obtain the best surgical outcome, it is important to choose an experienced NJ reconstructive plastic surgeon. Trigger finger hand surgery takes place near important nerves that enable hand and finger movement, making microsurgical experience crucial. A plastic surgeon with these key qualifications will help to ensure a minimal scar and a good aesthetic, as well as functional, result from hand surgery.

Good Candidates for Trigger Finger Surgery in NJ

The limited finger movement associated with the trigger finger condition may start out as just an annoyance but as the problem worsens, it can become intolerable. Having a finger that locks up, then pops straight out suddenly (or even worse, remains curled permanently) can make your work or daily activities impossible and very painful. Anyone in good health who is affected by this problem can be a good surgical candidate to eliminate trigger finger. If you smoke, this can affect healing and slow trigger finger surgery recovery.

Meet Dr. Yueh, our hand surgery specialist


What Happens During Trigger Finger Surgery?

Trigger finger surgery is an outpatient procedure typically done under local anesthesia and can take as little as half an hour. You will go home the same day and should have no trouble moving your finger almost immediately after surgery.

During your trigger finger surgery, your Bergen County hand surgeon will make an incision in the palm. This allows the surgeon to access and cut into the tendon sheath attached to the finger bones. The tendon sheath acts as a tunnel through which the flexor tendon moves as you move your finger. The sheath keeps the tendon in its proper place next to the finger bones. Your surgeon will take great care to ensure nerves are not damaged during your procedure. Trigger finger surgery makes the tendon sheath (tunnel) wider and more pliable so that the flexor tendon is able to move through it more smoothly.

Trigger Finger Surgical Risks

Trigger finger release surgery is very safe. However, there are risks in any type of surgery. You can minimize complications by choosing a top hand surgeon for your trigger finger surgery. In addition, an experienced NJ plastic surgeon with reconstructive and microsurgery experience will know how to best deal with any complication, should one occur. Rare complications include:

  • Infection: Your surgeon will tell you what signs to look for that may indicate infection. These include bleeding, a very sore scar that does not improve, excess swelling, fever and/or wound discharge. Your Bergen County surgeon will be available to you if any issues arise or if you have concerns during healing and trigger finger surgery recovery. Never hesitate to call your surgeon, even if only for reassurance.
  • Tender scar: Scarring risks are minimized when your hand surgeon is experienced and board certified in plastic surgery.
  • Poor healing: This is especially a risk for smokers. Your surgeon will ask you to quit well in advance of surgery and not take it up again for the best outcome. This won’t remove all risk if you are a long-time smoker,
  • Nerve damage: If this occurs, you may not recover full sensation in the finger or hand. Seek a surgeon with reconstructive experience and microsurgery experience to minimize such a complication.
  • Bowstringing: Where the finger tendon ends up in the wrong position.

Before your operation, your hand surgeon should inform you about the possible complications for your specific case. Make sure to ask questions if you need clarification.

Recovering From Trigger Finger Surgery in Bergen County

If you have had surgery on more than one finger, your recovery period may take longer. If the percutaneous release method is used in your surgery, rather than open surgery, your recovery may be shortened. Trigger finger surgery recovery is typically quick and details include:

  • Patients are generally able to move the affected finger as soon as the local anesthetic wears off on surgery day.
  • Your finger and palm (or thumb and palm) will feel sore for the next few days.
  • To speed healing, you’ll be asked to elevate or prop your hand above your heart as much as possible to help limit swelling.
  • Post-surgery discomfort can be soothed with ice packs.
  • You should feel much better within just a few days.
  • Allow up to six months for the last bit of swelling and stiffness to disappear.
  • Your hand surgeon may recommend physical therapy (or specific finger exercises done at home) to help you limber up the finger during the healing process.

Wound Care

  • Incision healing: For open surgery, care for your small incision site by washing with mild soap and warm water. Be sure to follow your surgeon’s instructions if they differ.
  • Showering: Don’t get your hand wet until you get the ok from your surgeon. To keep any bandage dry when showering, try covering it with plastic. Don’t take a bath, go swimming or use the hot tub until your surgeon gives the ok.
  • Your stitches: If any, they may be dissolvable and disappear in three weeks or so.
  • Scarring: You may be left with a tiny scar on your palm, where the incision was made. (A plastic surgeon will ensure that any incision scar blends in with your anatomy so that it will be invisible or barely visible to you after healing.)
  • Physical therapy: Massage, manipulation and hand exercises can help improve your range of movement, and speed trigger finger surgery recovery, especially if you have had surgery on more than one finger.

Returning to Daily Activities

  • Our NJ-area patients generally feel safe to drive within five days after surgery.
  • You may be able to use your laptop or smartphone keyboard almost immediately, but don’t write or type extensively for a few days to avoid discomfort.
  • Avoid sports for two to three weeks, to allow for wound healing and grip strength to return.
  • You may need no time at all off work if you have an office or desk job, or a very light manual occupation. If your job involves heavier labor, you may need up to four weeks off or modified work activities if you return after two weeks.

Talk with a Leading NJ Hand Surgeon

When you’re ready to learn more about trigger finger and the surgery needed to correct it, contact the dedicated hand surgery specialists at our offices: Cohen/Winters Aesthetic & Reconstructive Surgery in Bergen County.

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Dr. Yueh

About Dr. Yueh

Dr. Janet H. Yueh specializes in hand surgery including Trigger Finger, Basal Joint Arthritis, Carpal Tunnel and Tendonitis. Dr. Yueh did her undergraduate work at Harvard University in Cambridge where she graduated magna cum laude. She continued her education at Harvard Medical School where she earned her M.D.