J Korean Soc Surg Hand.  2016 Dec;21(4):218-224. 10.12790/jkssh.2016.21.4.218.

Ultrasound-Guided Percutaneous Release of the Trigger Thumb

  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Dankook University College of Medicine, Cheonan, Korea. kimjp@dankook.ac.kr
  • 2Department of Kinesiology and Medical Science, Graduate School, Dankook University, Cheonan, Korea.


Trigger thumb is a common condition with a prevalence rate up to 3% among the adults. The main pathophysiology is locking of the flexor tendon at the A1 pulley. Treatments include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, steroid injection, and surgical A1 pulley release. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of ultrasound-guided percutaneous release of trigger thumb.
The author prospectively reviewed 37 patients who had undergone ultrasound-guided percutaneous release by the same surgeon from January 2012 to June 2014. The effect of ultrasound-guided A1 pulley release was evaluated by using visual analogue scale (VAS) score, disabilities of arm, shoulder, and hand (DASH) score, and grip and pinch strengths preoperatively and at 12weeks after the surgery. In addition, complications related with the procedure were evaluated.
Triggering and locking were resolved in all patients after surgery. VAS and DASH improved from 5.0±1.8 and 45.8±16.9 preoperatively to 0.3±0.6 and 16.2±6.3 at 12 weeks, respectively (p=0.019 and p=0.021). Grip and pinch strengths statistically improved from33.5±8.6 kg and 36.7±8.1 kg, preoperatively 46.2±6.1 kg and 47.1±7.4 kg, respectively (p=0.026 and p=0.041). Complications such as incomplete resection, neurologic symptoms or wound infection were not found throughout the period of the study.
Ultrasound-guided percutaneous A1 pulley release provides complete relief of symptoms with no major complication in trigger thumb.


Trigger thumb; A1 pulley; Percutaneous release; Ultrasound
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