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Is hand fibrous tissue dangerous? Does it need surgery?

Normal fibrous tissue is essential and a constituent of every part of the human body. Human body use fibrous tissue for tissue repair and maintenance as well.


Fibrous tissue is a general term that doctors use to explain to patients when they seek consultation for symptoms such as numbness at the fingertips, trigger fingers, or locking and catching fingers, or difficulty to flex or straighten fingers. Doctors usually explain that symptoms are caused by fibrous tissue compressing or tightening the median nerve or joints.

Fibrous tissue or connective tissue consists of collagen fibers synthesized and secreted by human cells. After release from cells, 3 strands of collagen fibrils will line up, wound together, and twisted like a flax rope, which will shrink and form a meshwork of fibers. This mesh of connective tissue forms a part of skin, sub-dermis and organs all over the human body. Without fibrous or connective tissue, it is impossible to hold human body parts together as a whole.

Normal fibrous tissue is essential and a constituent of every part of the human body. Human body use fibrous tissue for tissue repair and maintenance as well. For example, if your skin is cut, it will gape open; cells at the edges of the wound will synthesize collagen and secrete it into the extracellular space, assembling into a mesh of connective tissue. The mesh of fibrous tissue will then shrink and pull tissues together to contract the wound. Local skin cells will divide and multiply to cover the wound, this is an instance where fibrous tissue can be beneficial. Whenever there is a wound, a meshwork of new collagen will help to heal it.

However, fibrous tissue can sometimes become problematic if it is formed at inappropriate site, over or under produced. If your skin is cut and fibrous tissue is insufficiently formed, the healing process will be delayed with widened scar, whereas excessive production of fibrous tissue can cause keloid scar.

When fibrous tissue is formed at an unwanted site, it can cause location dependent symptoms. Excessive connective tissue at transverse carpal ligament and median nerve on palmar side of the wrist can cause the transverse carpal ligament to thicken and contract. The median nerve will be constricted, leading to numbness of thumb, index, middle, and partially of the ring finger. If the constriction becomes tighter, it can cause weakness in thumb muscle; the symptom is known as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (the median nerve at the wrist is compressed.). If the fibrous tissue overgrows at tendon sheath or tendon, it can lead to trigger finger; If occurring around a joint, the joint may not be able to be fully flexed or straightened.

Normal fibrous tissue is beneficial, but its excessive or insufficient formation can lead to health issues.

If you experience hand problems such as numbness* or trigger finger, which may be the result of fibrous tissue, please make an appointment with an orthopedic doctor specializing in hand at Orthopedic Center (Tel. 02-090-3116).

*Remark: Numbness of fingertips may not be solely caused by connective tissue disease. The damage of peripheral nerves (peripheral neuropathy) or improper sleep position with wrist flexion can also be the reason. Treatment will depend on the cause and severity of the symptoms.

Article by
Dr Somsak Charoenchaipiyakul
Orthopedic surgeon specializing in hand and microsurgery
Doctor profile

Published: 06 Mar 2022