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Dequervain Release

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jan 5, 2023.


What do I need to know about DeQuervain release?

DeQuervain release is surgery to cut the tendon sheath around your inflamed tendon. The tendon sheath forms a smooth tunnel that your tendons slide through when you move your thumb.

How do I prepare for surgery?

Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare for surgery. He or she will tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of your surgery. He or she will tell you what medicines to take or not take on the day of surgery.

What will happen during surgery?

You may be given anesthesia to numb the surgery area. You may still feel pressure and pushing during surgery, but you should not feel any pain. You may instead be given general anesthesia to keep you asleep during surgery. Your surgeon will make an incision over the wrist near the base of your thumb. He or she will cut the tendon sheath so your tendon can move more freely. He or she will close your incision with stitches or medical tape. Your surgeon may place a bandage over the incision for 24 to 48 hours.

What are the risks of surgery?

You may develop numbness from nerve damage during surgery. Your symptoms may not go away completely. You may develop an infection. The tendons may slip or catch. A large scar may develop. You may have long-term tenderness at or near the surgery area.

Call 911 for any of the following:

  • You have trouble breathing.
  • You have chest pain.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Blood soaks through your bandage.
  • Your incision comes apart.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever or chills.
  • Your wound is red, swollen, or draining pus.
  • You have nausea or vomiting.
  • You feel dizzy or lightheaded.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


You may need any of the following:

  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask how to take this medicine safely.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell your provider if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Wound care:

Care for your wound as directed. You may need to carefully wash the wound with soap and water. Dry the area and put on new, clean bandages as directed.


  • Ice helps decrease swelling and pain. Ice may also help prevent tissue damage. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel and place it on your wrist for 15 to 20 minutes 5 to 6 times a day or as directed.
  • Elevate your wrist above the level of your heart as often as you can. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop your wrist on pillows or blankets to keep it elevated comfortably.
  • Move your thumb and hand as directed. This helps prevent stiffness and improves function.
  • Go to hand therapy if directed by your healthcare provider. Hand therapists can teach you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You will need to return to have your wound checked. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.