Abby’s Trigger Finger Surgery

One week ago today at this time (I’m starting this post at 7:32am), Travis was in the operating room with Abby while she fell asleep with the help of some anesthesia – talk about nerve wracking.  I was SO happy when Abby asked for Daddy to be in the room with her and not me.  I can only imagine what a mess I would have been…not exactly the best example of being brave for our daughter.  And while I know Travis was feeling very emotional about it as well, he was a rock star and made Abby feel extremely safe heading into surgery.

Check out their outfits (also, I didn’t take my “real camera” to the hospital so these pictures aren’t exactly amazing…but at least we have some!).

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I just sat in the hospital playroom with Abby’s “Patient Belongings” which consisted of a pajama shirt and a bunch of pink blankets. I took pictures of that to keep myself distracted.

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The surgery? 
Trigger finger correction.

What is trigger finger (trigger thumb in Abby’s case)?
According to the American Society for Surgery of the Hand,  it “involves the pulleys and tendons in the hand that bend the fingers. The tendons work like long ropes connecting the muscles of the forearm with the bones of the fingers and thumb. In the finger, the pulleys are a series of rings that form a tunnel through which the tendons must glide, much like the guides on a fishing rod through which the line (or tendon) must pass. These pulleys hold the tendons close against the bone. The tendons and the tunnel have a slick lining that allows easy gliding of the tendon through the pulleys.

Trigger finger/thumb occurs when the pulley at the base of the finger becomes too thick and constricting around the tendon, making it hard for the tendon to move freely through the pulley. Sometimes the tendon develops a nodule (knot) or swelling of its lining. Because of the increased resistance to the gliding of the tendon through the pulley, one may feel pain, popping, or a catching feeling in the finger or thumb. When the tendon catches, it produces irritation and more swelling of the pulley. This causes a vicious cycle of triggering and thickening of the pulley. Sometimes the finger becomes stuck or locked, and is hard to straighten or bend.”

Abby’s Trigger Thumb

We didn’t discover Abby was even having an issue with her thumb until she was over a year old (way to be observant, Mommy and Daddy!) – haha, and we didn’t even discover it…my Mom did. At first, her thumb would straighten out with some help (we’d hear a pop and Abby would get upset with us). But over time, her thumb became stuck in a bent position and it became nearly impossible to release the bend. Abby’s pediatrician said that in most cases, trigger finger corrects itself by the time kids turn 3. Well, Abby’s never self-corrected, so surgery was our best option.  Here’s her thumb the night before her surgery.

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Since Abby’s trigger thumb was on her dominant hand, we wanted to fix it up before it became too much of a problem with writing, playing, etc (we’ve been seeing her frustration grow over the past 6-12 months).  We also wanted to get the surgery out of the way before Caroline’s arrival (best decision ever!).

Believe it or not, we’ve noticed that Mackenzie has a similar issue on her right thumb as well. It’s not as severe as Abby’s was, but we definitely need to keep our eye on it and potentially get it splinted soon to see if that will help correct her problem enough to avoid surgery…fingers crossed!

Trigger Finger Surgery
Abby’s surgery was amazingly smooth and her doctors and nurses at CPMC were AMAZING. They were all so sweet, friendly, reassuring, and professional. They even had a playroom for Abby to have fun in while everyone was getting ready for surgery. Travis and I have nothing but the best things to say about our experience.  The surgery itself “is performed as an outpatient. The goal of surgery is to open the pulley at the base of the finger so that the tendon can glide more freely. Active motion of the finger generally begins immediately after surgery. Normal use of the hand can usually be resumed once comfort permits. Some patients may feel tenderness, discomfort, and swelling about the area of their surgery longer than others. Occasionally, hand therapy is required after surgery to regain better use.”

Here are some pictures before her surgery.

Abby’s Experience

In Abby’s case, she was super groggy the day of her surgery, she only took Tylenol for two days, and she was playing like a maniac at the park (per usual) two days after surgery.  She didn’t have to do any hand therapy and she was back at school on Monday. Her emotions were definitely all over the place the day of her surgery, but she’s been a champ.

Check her out right after surgery…

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She’s taken baths and showers with plastic bags on her hand (which didn’t actually keep the water out very well so we had to re-do her bandages), she’s been sleeping fairly well, and she’s SO PROUD that her thumb straightens out now.  When she saw her stitches for the first time it kind of scared her, but the second time she went to look at them she actually seemed excited and asked us to take pictures.

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Overall, Abby’s surgery went as smoothly as we could have hoped for. She was so incredibly brave at the hospital, the doctors and nurses were amazing, and Abby’s recovery has been a breeze.  I also have to mention that we couldn’t have done it without my Mom who flew out for the surgery.  She stayed with Mac the morning of the surgery, she served as Abby’s slumber party buddy, and she was just the perfect person to have around to keep me calm, keep the dishes cleaned (thanks little Momma!), and keep Abby distracted.

Last but not least, thank you ALL for your kind words, wishes, and prayers. We felt extremely supported the day of Abby’s surgery…and even though it was a minor one, it was nice knowing we had so many people thinking about Abby.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

7x7xMommy

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5 Responses

  1. Anina Duren says:

    The first time Kylie saw her (first set of) stitches she said “I have ants on my face!” I am so glad everything went fine and that Abby is doing good. Way to go Mom & Dad for making her feel so confident!

    • 7x7xMommy says:

      Haha…I love that…what an imagination! 🙂 And thanks! We feel so lucky that she was so brave on both the day of her surgery and afterward!

  2. Kiki says:

    It is so great to have this done. Abby was amazing though it all 🙂 Bless her big heart 🙂
    So glad I was there 🙂
    Love the video!

    • 7x7xMommy says:

      Thanks for coming out, little Momma – we really couldn’t have done it without your help! And Abby loves her special Kiki time. 🙂

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