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  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:





Tenolysis is surgery to remove adhesions from a tendon. Adhesions happens when scar tissue forms and binds tendons to tissue. It is most common on the hands and wrists.

Tendons in Finger.

Finger Tendonhttp://services.epnet.com/getimage.aspx?imageiid=77667766BT00013_105433_1_2.jpgBT00013_105433_1_2.jpgNULLjpgFinger TendonNULL\\hgfiler01a\intellect\images\BT00013_105433_1_2.jpgNULL27NULL2008-12-241234007766_629515Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Reasons for Procedure

This is done on people who have had an injury or surgery that affected the tendon. It is done when other methods have not helped.

Possible Complications

Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Problems from anesthesia, such as wheezing or sore throat
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Pain and stiffness
  • Harm to nerves or other nearby structures
  • Ruptured tendon
  • Surgery does not help with motion
  • Amputation

Things that may raise the risk of problems are:

  • Smoking
  • Drinking excess alcohol
  • Chronic diseases, such as diabetes or obesity

What to Expect

Problems to Look Out For

Call your doctor if you are not getting better or you have:

  • Signs of infection, such as fever and chills
  • Redness, swelling, excessive bleeding, or any discharge from the wound
  • Pain that you cannot control with medicine
  • Numbness or tingling
  • New or worsening symptoms

If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.

Prior to Procedure

The surgical team may meet with you to talk about:

  • Anesthesia options
  • Any allergies you may have
  • The medicines, herbs, and supplements that you take and whether you need to stop taking them before surgery
  • Fasting, such as avoiding food or drink after midnight the night before
  • Arranging for a ride to and from surgery
  • Tests that will need to be done before surgery


The doctor may give:

Description of the Procedure

A cut will be made. The tissue will be cut to release the tendon. The cut will be closed with stitches.

How Long Will It Take?

How long it takes depends on which tendon is affected and to what extent.

Will It Hurt?

Pain and swelling are common in the first 1 to 2 weeks. Medicine and home care can help.

Average Hospital Stay

You may be able to go home in 1 to 2 days. If you have problems, you may need to stay longer.

Post-procedure Care

At the Hospital

After the procedure, the staff may:

  • Give you pain medicines
  • Protect the area with a brace or splint

During your stay, staff will take steps to lower your chance of infection, such as:

  • Washing their hands
  • Wearing gloves or masks
  • Keeping your wounds covered

You can also lower your chance of infection by:

  • Washing your hands often and reminding visitors and staff to do the same
  • Reminding staff to wear gloves or masks
  • Not letting others touch your wounds

At Home

It will take a few weeks for the incision to heal. Physical activity will need to be limited during recovery. You will need to ask for help with daily activities and delay your return to work.





  • Trigger finger. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/trigger-finger.
  • Trigger finger (stenosing tenosynovitis) in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/trigger-finger-stenosing-tenosynovitis-in-adults.


  • Warren A. Bodine, DO, CAQSM
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.