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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.

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

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: January 29, 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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