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Ulnar Collateral Ligament Repair of Finger

What is the Ulnar Collateral Ligament?

The ulnar collateral ligaments are strongs band that is attached to the joints of the finger. Injury to this ligament is commonly due to any hard force put on the finger that causes the finger to be bent too far sideways, usually a result of a sports related injury. This force can result in a partial tear of the UCL (ulnar collateral ligament) or a complete tear of the UCL, known as a rupture. A tear to the UCL results in instability of the affected joint of the finger becoming very unstable and painful. The most common symptoms associated with UCL injuries are swollen, painful joint, and possible deformity of the finger, as well as bruising.


To repair the UCL ligament of the finger involves reattaching the torn ligament, usually with internal sutures. This surgery takes approximately 1 hour, and is performed as an outpatient surgery, meaning you will be able to go home that day.

Things to know:​

  • You will be discharged in a temporary splint that must be kept clean and dry until you are seen for follow up.
  • You will follow up with us in the office 1-2 days after the procedure. You will be sent for a custom splint that is removable for showering ONLY.
  • After 48 hours you may shower. While showering, you may use soap and water, but be sure to pat the incision dry. 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.
  • It is important to elevate your arm on a couple of pillows to alleviate pain and swelling.
  • We do encourage you to move your unaffected fingers while wearing the splint.
  • Sutures will remain in place for 10-14 days.
  • Typically follow up appointments are scheduled in two-week intervals following surgery, so we can monitor your recovery.
  • You will wear your splint at all times for 6 weeks. After 6 weeks, you will be referred for Occupational Therapy of the affected hand and wrist.
  • The splint will gradually be discontinued in the weeks to follow as you progress with occupational therapy.  Your lifting restrictions will gradually be increased over the next 2-3 months.

Postoperative restrictions are as follows:

  • NO use of the affected hand.
  • Must wear splint at all times, except while showering.