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De Quervain's (say "duh-kair-VAZ") tendon release is surgery to reduce pressure on a tendon that runs along the side of the wrist near the thumb. The doctor made a cut, called an incision, in the skin on the side of your wrist near the base of your thumb. The surgery opens the tissue over the swollen part of the tendon. This allows the tendon to move freely without pain.
Your wrist and thumb will be sore and swollen at first. You may feel numbness or tingling near the incision. This feeling will probably start to get better in a few days, but it may take several months to go away. Your doctor will take out your stitches 1 to 2 weeks after surgery. Your doctor or your physiotherapist or occupational therapist may recommend that you wear a splint on your hand for 1 to 4 weeks after surgery.
It may take 6 to 12 weeks for your hand to heal completely. After you heal, you may be able to move your wrist and thumb without pain.
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 after 1 or 2 days. But if your job requires you to do repeated hand or wrist movements, put pressure on your hand or wrist, or lift things, you may need to take 6 to 12 weeks off work. Your doctor can help you decide how much time you will need to take off work.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.
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 advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) 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.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for any changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: July 1, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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