Ultrasound-Guided A1 Pulley Release Versus Classic Open Surgery for Trigger Digit: A Randomized Clinical Trial

J Ultrasound Med. 2023 Jun;42(6):1267-1275. doi: 10.1002/jum.16139. Epub 2022 Dec 7.


Objectives: We compared an ultra-minimally invasive ultrasound-guided percutaneous A1 pulley release and a classic open surgery for trigger digit.

Methods: We designed a single-center randomized control trial. All cases had clinical signs of primary grade III trigger digit. Concealed allocation (1:1) was used for assigning patients to each group and data collectors were blinded. The Quick-Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand (Quick-DASH) questionnaire was our primary variable. Quick-DASH, two-point discrimination, grip strength, time until stopping analgesics, having full digital range of motion and restarting everyday activities were registered on the 1st, 3rd, and 6th weeks, 3rd and 6th months, and 1st year after the procedure.

Results: We randomized 84 patients to ultrasound-guided release and classic open surgery. Quick-DASH scores significantly favored the percutaneous technique until the 3rd month: 7.6 ± 1.2 versus 15.3 ± 2.4 (mean ± standard error of the mean). The percutaneous group obtained significantly better results in all the variables studied: time until stopping analgesics, achieving full range of motion and restarting everyday activities. Grip strength was significantly better in the percutaneous group for the 1st week only. Five cases of moderate local pain were observed in the open technique. There was one case of transient nerve numbness per group.

Conclusions: The ultra-minimally invasive ultrasound-guided A1 pulley release was clinically superior to the classic open surgery in functional recovery with a lower complication rate.

Keywords: minimally invasive surgery; percutaneous release; trigger digit; ultrasound; ultrasound guided.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics
  • Humans
  • Pain
  • Recovery of Function
  • Trigger Finger Disorder* / diagnostic imaging
  • Trigger Finger Disorder* / surgery
  • Ultrasonography
  • Ultrasonography, Interventional / methods


  • Analgesics

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