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When Is Surgery Right for Rheumatoid Arthritis

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What Should I Expect After Surgery for Rheumatoid Arthritis?

After surgery for rheumatoid arthritis:

  • You'll be in the hospital for a few days.
  • You can expect some pain and soreness, but pain medicines will control that.
  • Learn your physical therapy plan and stick with it when you get home. Don't lie around! Practice walking every day.
  • Within three to six weeks, you should be getting back to normal light activity.
  • Around this time, you'll see your orthopedic surgeon again to make sure you're healing and progressing well.
  • It's also important to be realistic. Surgery can ease pain significantly and allow you to get around much better, but it will rarely be a perfect fix.

Can There Be Complications From RA Surgery?

There usually aren't any complications after RA surgery, but it's important to watch out for them just in case. Call your surgeon if you notice any of the following:

  • The skin around the area of surgery becomes unusually red or hot
  • The wound drains pus or thick, foul-smelling fluid
  • A fever higher than 101 degrees
  • Chest pain or noticeable shortness of breath
  • Unusual pain or swelling of one leg

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David Zelman, MD on June 10, 2013
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