Mr Omar Tillo
Consultant Plastic Surgeon
De Quervain’s syndrome occurs when the tendons around the base of the thumb are irritated. This may cause you to experience pain or swelling at the base of the thumb, or may cause you to have difficulty moving the thumb.
While the exact cause of De Quervain’s syndrome is unknown, there are activities which can it can be associated with, including:
De Quervain’s syndrome can occur in both genders and in people of any age. However, there are groups which are more at risks of De Quervain’s syndrome, which are:
Prior to having surgery, you may wish to try non-surgical options to see if this alleviates symptoms. Non-surgical options include taking pain medication, steroid injections, wearing a splint, or undertaking physical therapy. If these options do not provide any relief, you may wish to consider surgery.
You will be able to have De Quervain’s release if you:
Before you have surgery, you will have to attend a consultation with a surgeon. They will be able to assess your wrist and thumb to confirm you have De Quervain’s release and decide whether surgery is the best option for you.
De Quervain’s release will be performed under a local anaesthetic, so you will not have to be asleep for the procedure. However, if you wish you can elect to have a general anaesthetic.
The procedure is performed as outpatient surgery, so you will be able to return home once the surgery is complete.
De Quervain’s release will involve the decompression of the tendon tunnel. The surgeon will make an incision which will expose the tendon. The roof of the tendon tunnel will then be split. This will make it wider and will give the tendon more room to move, and you will no longer feel any pain. The incision will then be stitched shut.
The procedure will take about 20 minutes to complete.
You will be able to feel pain relief almost immediately, and you will experience a freedom of movement at the wrist and thumb. However, you may experience some pain and discomfort at the site of the incision for a few weeks.
You may experience some bruising and swelling. You may wish to apply an ice pack to the area to help reduce any swelling.
For the first two to three days, you should keep the wrist elevated and immobile. You can use pillows to help prop up the wrist.
Your stitches will be removed after 10 to 14 days.
You will need to avoid using the hand and wrist for 10 to 14 days. During this period you will be wearing a splint which will help to support the wrist. During this period you will have to avoid any heavy lifting.
De Quervain’s syndrome is an irritation of the tendon around the base of the thumb. This can cause pain in the wrist and thumb, particularly when you grip your hand, make a fist or turn your wrist.
There are a number of non-surgical procedures you can try, which may fix De Quervain’s syndrome or provide some temporary relief. This includes taking medication, wearing a splint or having steroid injections. You will also be encouraged to avoid undertaking the activities which can cause De Quervain’s syndrome.
You will be eligible to undergo De Quervain’s release surgery if you are 18 years or older, have been experiencing physical pain from De Quervain’s syndrome and have tried non-surgical options which have not worked.
During your consultation, your surgeon will be able to assess whether or not you are an eligible candidate for this procedure.
Before surgery, you will be given a local anaesthetic so you will not feel any pain during the procedure.
The procedure involves the surgeon making an incision to expose the tendon. The tendon tunnel roof is then split. This makes it wider and the tendon has more room to move, and will no longer feel pain.
De Quervain’s release surgery will take around 20 minutes to complete.
You should be able to experience the results from the procedure right away, you will no longer feel pain in the thumb or wrist.
You may feel pain or discomfort from the incision site, which may last for a few days. You may also notice some bruising or swelling. You can help the swelling by applying an ice pack.
You will have to avoid using the hand and wrist for 10 to 14 days. During this period you will be wearing a splint which will help to support the wrist.