Open Mallet Deformity Repair

Mallet finger is an injury to the extensor tendon of affected finger that works to straighten the end of the finger. This condition is also known as Baseball Finger. This type of injury most commonly results when a ball or other object strikes affected fingertip causing it to forcefully bend resulting in a tear of the extensor tendon. This will prevent finger from straightening. Other symptoms can include pain, swelling, and bruising to affected finger; however, inability to straighten tip of the finger may be the only symptom. 

Surgery to correct Mallet Finger is called an Open Mallet Deformity Repair. This involves a small horizontal incision to the distal joint and placement of a pin into tip of affected finger. This surgery is performed on an outpatient basis meaning you will be able to go home that day. You will be discharged in a temporary splint that must be kept clean and dry until you are seen for follow up with your surgeon, usually the next day. It is important to elevate your arm on a couple of pillows to alleviate pain and swelling. 

At your follow up appointment, we will write you a prescription for a DIP (distal interphalangeal joint) splint that must be worn at all times, except when showering. You are able to shower 48 hours after surgery; however, it is important that you do not submerge your surgical incision in water (i.e. no bath tubs, swimming pools, washing dishes, etc.). While showering, it is important you do not use your hand/arm. After showering, pat incision dry and replace splint. 

Sutures will remain in place for 4-6 weeks, because they are helping to hold the extensor tendon in slight hyperextension. Pin will remained in place 6 weeks, at this time will be removed in our office and splint will be discontinued. Typically follow up appointments are scheduled at two-week intervals after surgery so we can monitor your recovery. Occupational Therapy will most likely begin 6 weeks after surgery, as indicated by your surgeon.

You may resume your regular diet after surgery; however, you should start slow. It is a good idea to start with things like toast, Jell-O, crackers, and soup to see how your stomach tolerates food after anesthesia. Drink plenty of fluids such as water or Gatorade and limit your intake of sodas, coffee and other caffeinated beverages.  

We will send you home with a prescription for an antibiotic and a pain medication. It is important to take your antibiotic and pain medication with food to prevent nausea (unless you are instructed otherwise). Do not take your pain medication and antibiotic at the same time as this may upset your stomach; separate them by an hour or two. You cannot drive while taking pain medication.

Should you develop any of the following signs and or symptoms of possible infection, call our office immediately:

  1. Fever over 100.3
  2. Chills or night sweats
  3. Unusual swelling, redness, or warmth to your incision site
  4. Purulent drainage from incision site.

Please do not hesitate to call our office with any concerns or questions you may have.

Please remember the above instructions are only a guide. Always listen to the instructions given by your healthcare provider and follow those if in conflict with any listed above

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