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Rheumatoid Arthritis & Bone Fusions

By August 22, 2008 - 4:28pm
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Does rheumatoid arthritis lead to bone fusion?


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EmpowHER Guest

I am new to this website but I have had RA for 12 years and am on Simponi.
I have been on all of the others, but they stop working after some time. I like the fact that with the injectible pen it is easy to do. My insurance covers most of it and there is also patient assistance program.
debbie freiden

November 7, 2010 - 9:26pm
(reply to Anonymous)

Thanks for writing, Debbie. There are a few of us here with RA, including me. I'm currently on Enbrel after Remicade and Humira stopped working for me. We're so lucky these days to have more meds to choose from than we used to.

Please keep in touch!

November 8, 2010 - 7:31am

From my understanding, bones are not able to "fuse" together unless they are still in the growing phase (infants, for example). Bone fusing, or arthrodesis, is a treatment option that fuses bones together.

October 7, 2010 - 1:34pm
EmpowHER Guest

Can certain bones fuse due to RA or Spinal Stenosis?

October 7, 2010 - 10:39am
(reply to Anonymous)

Hi Anon

The bones don't really fuse per se, at least not in the complete way they would in a surgical fusion, but if in the case of spinal stenosis the vertebrae have a lot of friction and arthritis, they can form osteophytes (commonly called bone spurs) and these osteophytes can sometimes become very large and sort of naturally fuse vertebrae in a spot. Think of it like a long bone scar that reaches up to the next bone, if that makes sense.

This would not be a common situation. It is much more likely in ankylosing spondylosis, another autoimmune disease.

October 8, 2010 - 6:41am

Hi Susan,

Your first question...does RA require a fusion in order to correct or treat RA?


August 22, 2008 - 8:13pm
(reply to angmares)

Hi Ang

Sometimes a fusion is the best treatment if you have had RA and have significant deformity, pain, and dysfunction. For example, if you have a lot of pain and instability in your wrist, and there is joint deformity that is permanent, sometimes a fusion makes the bones stop deforming further and because they no longer sort of rub each other the wrong way, it can decrease pain significantly.

These days if you get timely treatment for RA you avoid much of the permanent deformity that used to be common place. But if you have severe RA that does not respond well to meds, you may end up with deformities in spite of your best efforts. The fusion is just one treatment for severe pain and dysfunction in a joint. It would be done on a very individual basis.

I hope that helps. If you have further questions, please let me know. Not only am I a nurse, but I have had RA for about 25 years. Thanks for writing.

October 8, 2010 - 6:37am
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