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De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis Surgery

De Quervain's tenosynovitis is a condition also known as radial styloid tenosynovitis and it affects the tendons on the thumb side of the wrist. If non-surgical methods don't work to alleviate your pain, De Quervain's surgery is the next step.

In this post, we’ll go more in-depth about what De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis is and what options you have for healing:

  • What is De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis?
  • Are there non-surgical treatments for De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis?
  • How do you recover from De Quervain’s surgery?
  • How can Michigan Surgery Specialists help?

What is De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis?

 De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis occurs when the two tendons around the base of your thumb become swollen. This swelling can cause inflammation which then puts pressure on nearby nerves, causing pain and numbness.

If you have severe pain in your wrist when attempting to hold or grasp anything, or make a fist, you may be suffering from De Quervain’s tenosynovitis. If your work or favorite hobby requires repetitive use of your hands, you may be at risk.

How does De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis happen?

The most common cause of De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is chronic overuse of the wrist. Daily repetitive movements can lead to great irritation and pain.

Additionally, women are at higher risk of developing De Quervain’s tenosynovitis. Arthritis, hormonal changes (like pregnancy), and wrist injuries can be triggers as well.

What are the symptoms of De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis?

The most common symptoms of De Quervain’s tenosynovitis include:

  • Swelling near the base of your thumb
  • Difficulty moving your thumb and wrist
  • Severe pain near the base of your thumb
  • A sticking sensation in your thumb when moving it

Any of the above symptoms are signs that you should see a doctor. Many patients think they simply have hand pain and try to tough it out. However, the longer you wait to see a doctor, the more likely it is that you’ll end up with complications.

Are there non-surgical treatments for De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis?

Yes. Your doctor may have you attempt some non-surgical treatments to reduce your pain.

Anti-inflammatory drugs may also help with swelling and tenderness. If your symptoms are more severe, your doctor may recommend a wrist splint that can be worn when necessary. Your doctor might also recommend physical therapy.

Mild to moderate symptoms from De Quervain’s tenosynovitis can be improved without surgery. But If these more conservative treatments fail, De Quervain’s surgery is the next step.

What is De Quervain’s surgery?

De Quervain’s surgery is also commonly called “De Quervain’s release.” During this outpatient procedure, you’ll receive a local anesthetic to numb both your hand and your wrist. The procedure will release the tendon sheath wrapped around the base of your thumb to relieve both painful pressure and friction. The entire surgery is typically over in less than an hour.

With De Quervain’s release surgery, the tendons in your hand will be able to glide freely once more when moving the thumb and wrist.

To perform this surgery, your hand surgeon makes a small incision on your wrist, near the base of your thumb. From there, your surgeon will locate the inflamed tendon and cut a small slit in the sheath surrounding the tendon. That slit will release pressure and allow the tendons to move more freely.

After the surgery, you’ll find stitches, bandages, and a splint around your hand which will heal with time.

How do you recover from De Quervain’s surgery?

Recovery from De Quervain’s surgery can be a bit painful. Your wrist and thumb may be rather swollen and sore following surgery. You may feel numbness or tingling near the incision site. While most report feeling better within a few days, it takes longer for others.

Your doctor will take out your stitches 1 to 2 weeks after surgery. You may also have to wear a splint on your hand for up to four weeks following surgery.

You should definitely avoid any heavy lifting or repetitive motions immediately following De Quervain’s surgery. It may take 6 to 12 weeks for your hand to heal completely. You should then be able to move your wrist and hand freely without any pain. Of course, everyone’s journey to recovery varies.

Are you suffering from De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis?

Michigan Surgery Specialists can help. Our team of expert hand surgeons in Detroit can relieve your pain. And we work closely with physical therapists to ensure that you regain full use of your hand as quickly as possible.

Don’t suffer any longer! Request an appointment with Michigan Surgery Specialists today.

Meet our physicians

Dr Ryan

John B. Ryan, M.D., FACS

Orthopedics

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Dr Williams

Troy K. Williams, M.D.

Hand Surgery

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Jeffery Hall

Jeffrey M. Hall, M.D., FACS

Hand Surgery

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