What Happens During De Quervain Surgery?

De Quervain syndrome is a painful condition that may require surgery if non-surgical treatment fails. If you’re feeling no relief from non-surgical treatments, you may be considering De Quervain surgery. Read on to learn what happens during the procedure so you know what to expect. 

How Long Does De Quervain’s Surgery Take?

De Quervain’s Syndrome, or De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis, is a condition where the tendons at the base of the thumb become inflamed or irritated. 

De Quervain’s surgery is a relatively quick outpatient procedure performed under local anaesthetic. It usually takes 30 to 40 minutes, and you can typically go home the same day. 

De Quervain Syndrome Anatomy

What Happens During De Quervain’s Surgery?

De Quervain’s surgery involves releasing the tendon sheath to allow the tendons to move more freely. Various surgical techniques are used, depending on your individual case. In general, De Quervain’s syndrome surgery involves the following steps: 

  1. Your surgeon identifies the nerves near the tendon sheath and protects them from nerve damage.
  2. They then make an incision in the wrist near the base of the thumb.
  3. The surgeon then opens the sheath to create room for the tendons and avoid tendon instability.
  4. If there is excess tissue around the tendons, the surgeon would remove i.
  5. Then the incision is closed, and a bandage is applied.

What Patients Should Expect from De Quervain Syndrome Surgery 


First, you attend a consultation with your doctor, where you will go through a physical assessment and confirm a treatment plan. If your doctor recommends De Quervain surgery, you will be asked to visit on a specific day for the procedure. The doctor also provides instructions to follow before the procedure. 


During the procedure, you lie on your back. Once comfortable, the surgeon then marks out the path of the tendons to provide a visual of the tendon path. Anaesthesia is then administered, and the incision is carried out, after which the wound is closed.


Immediately after De Quervain surgery, the wrist and the thumb will be swollen, and there may be a feeling of numbness, which may last for a few days. In most cases, the doctor removes the stitches 1 to 2 weeks after the procedure. Your doctor may recommend wearing a splint for 1 to 4 weeks after the surgery. In general, De Quervain surgery recovery takes about 6 weeks to 3 months. 

In most cases, after hand surgery, you may need some hand therapy sessions. The aim of these sessions is to strengthen and rehabilitate the hand or hands in question so that you can get back to day-to-day life. Hand therapy may include in-person sessions as well as exercises that you can do at home. 

De Quervain Surgery at The Harley Clinic 

De Quervain syndrome can be uncomfortable and painful. if you think you may have De Quervain syndrome or would like to speak with an expert, book a consultation today at Harley Clinic.

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