What is De Quervain's Release?

De Quervain's release is a surgical procedure sometimes used to treat tendonitis, or sore and inflamed tendons, in the wrist. De Quervain's tendonitis occurs when the tendons at the base of the thumb become irritated and swollen. The swollen tendons can press against the tiny sheath, or tunnel, of connective tissue that holds them in place. This is not only painful, but also makes it difficult to move the thumb easily.

During a de Quervain's release, the surgeon makes a small incision, about one inch long, at the side of the wrist. The tendons are located, and the surgeon simply snips open the sheath around them, relieving pressure. The tendons no longer rub against the sheath, and can glide back and forth freely without pressure or pain.

Performing surgery for de Quervain's tendonitis is unusual. Most often, de Quervain's responds to non-surgical treatments such as NSAIDs, splints, or rest. If surgery is performed, you may experience numbness and tingling in the wrist and thumb at first. You will have to wear a splint for several weeks during recovery, and use physical therapy to strengthen your grip. However, de Quervain's release is a quick procedure and a very effective treatment for this kind of tendonitis.

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