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Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis - Surgery

Surgical treatment may be used in a very small number of children whose juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) has caused severe joint deformity, loss of movement, or pain.

The main things to think about for surgery during childhood are the child's age and whether his or her bones are still growing. If at all possible, joint reconstruction is delayed until childhood bone growth is complete (at about 18 years of age).

Surgery choices

When surgery to correct joint deformity is needed, the more common procedures include:

Other surgical procedures for JIA are recommended only in selected cases. These include:

  • Osteotomy, which involves removing a wedge of bone to allow more normal alignment of the joint. It may be recommended for children who have severe joint contractures.
  • Epiphysiodesis. In this surgery, the portion where growth occurs is removed in order to stop growth.
  • Synovectomy or tenosynovectomy. These are rarely used for JIA. Synovectomy involves the removal of the joint lining (synovium) and/or the covering of the tendon (tenosynovectomy) to reduce joint inflammation.
  • Arthrodesis. This is rarely used in children. It involves fusing two bones in a diseased joint so that the joint can no longer move.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 05, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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