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Long-term results of surgical release of trigger finger and trigger thumb in adults



Trigger finger and thumb are amongst the most common hand disabilities seen by orthopaedic surgeons. Surgical release of the first annular pulley (A1) is generally indicated when non-operative treatment fails. We present the long-term results of open operative treatment of trigger finger or trigger thumb in adults performed by a single surgeon.


From July 1988 to 1998, 305 trigger fingers or thumbs in 276 consecutive patients were treated operatively, including 179 women and 97 men. The average age at operation time was 46.2 years.


Two hundred and ten (76%) of the operations were performed for a single trigger digit release, 76 (24%) for multiple trigger digits in individual patients. All operations were done under tourniquet control with local infiltration anaesthesia under outpatient conditions using a transverse incision just distal to the distal palmar crease or on the flexor crease of the thumb at the metacarpophalangeal joint. At latest follow-up after an average of 14.3 years (min: 10, max: 20) 234 patients could be evaluated and were out of complaints, there were no serious complications such as nerve transection or bowstringing or recurrencies.


We recommend open surgery of trigger finger and trigger thumb.

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Correspondence to Alexander Schuh.

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Lange-Rieß, D., Schuh, R., Hönle, W. et al. Long-term results of surgical release of trigger finger and trigger thumb in adults. Arch Orthop Trauma Surg 129, 1617 (2009).

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  • Trigger finger
  • Trigger thumb
  • Long term
  • Result
  • Decompression