Trigger finger release with stepwise preservation of the A1 pulley: A functional pulley-preserving technique

Vachara Niumsawatt, David Mao, Stephen Salerno, Warren M. Rozen

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3 Citations (Scopus)


The first annular (A1) pulley is an important structure of the hand, providing a biomechanical support to the metacarpophalangeal joint and maintaining joint stability and flexor tendon alignment. Albeit uncommon, disruption of this pulley can result in dislocation or ulnar drift of the digit, particularly pronounced in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Despite this, the A1 pulley is commonly divided without reconstruction in trigger finger. Several annular pulley reconstructive techniques have been developed to preserve its function. However, development of recurrent triggering has been observed due to fibrosis, largely due to inadequate release of the pulley. We have developed a technique to increase the volume within the flexor sheath while preserving the A1 pulley by way of stepwise lengthening. This has enabled an increase in the diameter of the pulley to 4 times its original size. A prospective study was performed comprising 10 trigger finger releases with stepwise lengthening of the A1 pulley. In all patients, there were no complications, and good hand function was achieved with no recurrence of triggering at 6 weeks of follow-up. This technique can thus safely achieve trigger release without sacrifice of the function of the A1 pulley.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-444
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Surgery
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • A1 pulley reconstruction
  • Stenosing
  • Stepwise lengthening
  • Trigger finger release

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