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Safe Treatment of Trigger Finger with Longitudinal and Transverse Landmarks: An Anatomic Study of the Border Fingers for Percutaneous Release

Wilhelmi, Bradon J. M.D.; Mowlavi, Arian M.D.; Neumeister, Michael W. M.D.; Bueno, Reuben M.D.; Lee, W. P. Andrew M.D.

doi: 10.1097/01.PRS.0000076225.79854.F7
Original Articles

Transverse landmarks have recently been determined to predict the proximal and distal edges of the A1 pulley for trigger finger release. Percutaneous A1 pulley release has been discouraged for the border digits because of the risk of injury to the neurovascular structures of the index and small fingers. The purpose of the study was to identify longitudinal surface landmarks to prevent injury to the neurovascular bundles during percutaneous A1 pulley release of the ulnar and radial border digits. Longitudinal surface landmarks were identified and marked on 29 cadaver hands. Proximal and distal landmarks for the longitudinal vector through which the A1 pulley of the small finger was released include the midline of the proximal digital crease and the scaphoid tubercle. Proximal and distal landmarks for the longitudinal line through which the index finger A1 pulley was released include the midline of proximal digital crease and radial edge of the pisiform. Longitudinal incisions were performed between these landmarks, straight through the skin and deep enough to score the A1 pulley. The distance of the medial edge of the neurovascular structures from the longitudinal incision in the A1 pulley was measured for each small finger and index finger. Using these longitudinal landmarks for the index and small fingers, none of the neurovascular structures was injured while performing these longitudinal incisions through the skin, scoring the A1 pulley. In fact, the average distance for the neurovascular structures from the longitudinal vector of the small finger was 5.4 ± 1.4 mm radially and 6.7 ± 1.9 mm ulnarly. The average distance for the neurovascular structures from the longitudinal line of the index finger was 8.5 ± 1.8 mm radially and 6.2 ± 1.7 mm ulnarly. Based on the findings of this anatomical study, these longitudinal landmarks can be used to avoid injury to neurovascular structures in the management of trigger finger involving the border digits with steroid-injection, open, or percutaneous A1 pulley release.

Springfield, Ill.; and Boston, Mass.

From the Institute for Plastic Surgery, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, and Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School.

Received for publication May 6, 2002;

revised November 12, 2002.

Bradon J. Wilhelmi, M.D.

The Institute for Plastic Surgery

Southern Illinois University School of Medicine

747 North Rutledge, 3rd Floor

P.O. Box 19653

Springfield, Ill. 62794-9653

bwilhelmi@siumed.edu

Presented at the 70th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, in Orlando, Florida, November 3 to 7, 2001.

©2003American Society of Plastic Surgeons