Percutaneous A1 Pulley Release a Clinical Study

Hand Surg. 1999 Jul;4(1):45-50. doi: 10.1142/s0218810499000113.


Percutaneous A1 pulley release is being increasingly used as an alternative to open surgical release and injection of local steroids for the treatment of the trigger digit. In 31 cases (26 patients), a percutaneous release was performed with a 14-gauge intravenous catheter needle under local anaesthesia in the outpatient setting. We report a 97% successful release and only one case of incomplete release. There were no digital nerve injuries, flexor tendon injuries, bowstringing or infections. By two months, all the patients had no pain at the operative site, and their preoperative range of motion had returned or improved. The percutaneous release is a safe and effective technique which provides significant cost savings. We recommend the percutaneous technique for typical cases of trigger finger with a palpable nodule and reproducible mechanical triggering. We recommend a steroid injection for patients with tenosynovitis and those who do not have reproducible triggering at the time of presentation. The open technique is reserved for complicated cases such as florid tenosynovitis, locked digit, failed percutaneous release or those involving the thumb.