Surgical Procedures for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Surgical procedures are generally used only on patients who haven’t had improvement with medications.
Arthroscopy has recently been shown to have no benefit over conventional non-surgical treatment of joint conditions.
In this procedure, a deformed joint (usually the knee) is realigned surgically to put more weight on the least affected side of the joint.
In this operation, the inflamed synovium, the tissue that lines the joint, is removed.
This is joint replacement surgery. The joint is usually replaced with a synthetic joint, such as one made of a chromium alloy and plastic.
Arthrodesis is a last resort for patients who have not had good pain relief from other efforts. In this procedure, the two bones making up a joint are permanently fused together. While this can greatly improve pain, it also means that the joint is permanently nonfunctional.
Arthritis Foundation website. Available at: http://www.arthritis.org/ .
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/ .
Cecil Textbook of Medicine . 21st ed. W.B. Saunders Company; 2000.
Conn’s Current Therapy . 54th ed. W.B. Saunders Company; 2002.
Last reviewed September 2009 by
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