De Quervain's tendon release is surgery to decrease pressure on a tendon that runs along the side of the wrist near the thumb. Tendons are flexible, rope-like fibres that connect muscle to bone. In de Quervain's (say "duh-kair-VAZ") tendinitis, the tendon becomes swollen. This causes the tendon to rub painfully against the tissue that covers it.
This surgery will probably be done while you are awake. The doctor will give you a shot (injection) to numb your hand and prevent pain. You also may get medicine to help you relax.
During the surgery, the doctor will make a cut (incision) in the skin on the side of your wrist near the base of your thumb. He or she will make a cut to open the tight band over the swollen part of the tendon. This will allow the tendon to move freely without pain. The doctor will close the skin incision with stitches. You will have a scar on the side of your wrist that will fade with time.
You will go home on the same day as the surgery. How soon you can return to work depends on your job. If you can do your job without using your hand, you may be able to go back in 1 or 2 days. But if your job requires you to do repeated hand or wrist movements, put pressure on your hand, or lift things, you may need 6 to 12 weeks off work.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Having surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect and how to safely prepare for surgery.
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Current as of: November 29, 2017
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
& Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & David R. Pichora, MD, FRCSC - Orthopedic Surgery
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