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.
Recovery following arthroplasty may involve a 2- to 14-day hospital stay. Depending on the joint, rehabilitation may take several weeks to several months.
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:
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:
To learn more about total knee and hip replacement surgery, see the topic Osteoarthritis.
Success of arthroplasty depends in part on whether a person follows a rehabilitation program after surgery.
Last Revised: May 15, 2013
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