Arthroplasty is surgery done to reconstruct or replace a diseased joint. For rheumatoid arthritis, arthroplasty is done to restore function to a joint or correct a deformity. Bones in a joint can be reshaped. Or all or part of the joint can be replaced with metal, ceramic, or plastic parts.
What To Expect After Surgery
Recovery following arthroplasty may involve a 2- to 14-day hospital stay. Depending on the joint, rehabilitation may take several weeks to several months.
Why It Is Done
Surgery such as arthroplasty will not cure rheumatoid arthritis, nor will it stop disease activity. But if a joint is badly diseased, surgery may provide pain relief and improve function. Arthroplasty is considered when:
Symptoms can no longer be controlled with medicine, joint injections, physical therapy, and exercise.
Pain from rheumatoid arthritis can no longer be tolerated.
You are not able to do normal daily activities.
Narrowing of the joint space or wearing away of the cartilage and bone is causing severe pain or reduced range of motion.
How Well It Works
Arthroplasty can relieve pain and restore enough function in a joint to allow a person to do normal daily activities.1
Risks of arthroplasty include the risks of surgery and using anesthetic and the risks of:
Infection developing in the artificial joint (requires removal of the artificial joint and treatment of the infection).
Firestein GS (2010). Rheumatoid arthritis. In EG Nabel, ed., ACP Medicine, section 15, chap. 2. Hamilton, ON: BC Decker.
The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.