Hong Kong Med J 2011;17:372–5 | Number 5, October 2011
Trigger thumbs in children: results of surgical release
OY Leung, FK Ip, TC Wong, SH Wan
Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital, Chai Wan, Hong Kong
OBJECTIVE. To evaluate results from surgical release of trigger thumbs in children in a regional hospital cluster in Hong Kong.
DESIGN. Descriptive case series.
SETTING. A regional hospital cluster, Hong Kong.
PATIENTS. Data from 1993 to 2009 on 180 children with 209 trigger thumbs were collected. Analyses into gender, predominance of thumb, age of onset, associated abnormalities and family history, symptoms and signs, surgical outcomes, and postoperative complications were carried out retrospectively.
RESULTS. There were 92 girls and 88 boys having trigger thumbs (1.05:1). In all, 29 (16%) of the children presented with bilateral trigger thumbs, while the right thumb was singly involved in 81 (45%) and the left thumb in 70 (39%) of the children. The mean age of onset was 19 months; only 20% were diagnosed before the age of 1 year. Only nine (5%) of the children were associated with congenital diseases and none had a positive family history of trigger thumb. Flexion deformity was the major presenting feature, other than triggering or pain. A nodule and flexion deformity were very commonly observed during physical examination. More than 95% of the operated thumbs with transverse incision acquired a good range of movement with a scarcely apparent scar. A residual flexion deformity was evident in only 4%, mostly in children who underwent surgical release under the age of 1 year.
CONCLUSION. Surgical release is recommended for children with trigger thumbs aged more than 1 year, which attains satisfactory results with minimal complications.
Key words: Bone diseases; Child; Congenital abnormalities; Thumb; Trigger finger disorder
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