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Rheumatoid Arthritis - Surgery

Surgical treatment for rheumatoid arthritis is used to relieve severe pain and improve function of severely deformed joints that don't respond to medicine and physical therapy.

Total joint replacement (arthroplasty) can be done for many different joints in the body. Its success varies depending on which joint is replaced.

Recommended Related to Rheumatoid Arthritis

When Men Get Rheumatoid Arthritis

For a few years, Andrew Ellis tried to tough out the pain, which started in his thumb. A boxer and football player in college, Ellis, 58, was used to aches and pains. He’d even broken his thumb once, so he told himself the new pain was from the old break. Then his other thumb began to hurt. Soon, he had pain in his toes and the balls of his feet. When his neck began to hurt, he finally admitted to himself that it was time to see a doctor. “I said to myself, ‘There’s something wrong,” recalls Ellis,...

Read the When Men Get Rheumatoid Arthritis article > >

Surgery choices

Surgeries considered for people who have severe rheumatoid arthritis include:

What to think about

Joint surgery often restores near-normal movement in a person who has osteoarthritis in just one or two joints. But this is not the case for people affected by rheumatoid arthritis.

  • Rheumatoid arthritis usually affects multiple joints, particularly smaller joints, such as finger joints, which are needed for many daily activities. Surgical treatment may not be an option for all of the affected joints.
  • Joint surgery or replacement can relieve disabling pain and restore enough motion to allow you to do your daily activities. But it will seldom restore the joint to normal.

Before you decide to have surgery, consult with an orthopedic surgeon who is experienced in joint surgery for rheumatoid arthritis.

Questions About Joint Surgery

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: October 06, 2014
    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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