Surgery is usually an option for people whose joints are badly damaged or whose condition is too painful. The goal of surgery is to relieve pain and to improve joint function.

  • For arthroscopic surgery, the surgeon inserts a scope through a small cut in the skin and cleans or removes inflamed or damaged joint tissue.
  • Arthroplasty, or joint replacement, is one of the most common types of joint surgery, with hip and knee joints being the most often replaced.
  • Other types of surgery may involve repairing bone deformities by realigning joints, fusing joints together, or rebuilding parts of joints.

Side effects of surgery include infection risk and joint loosening. It's also important to keep in mind that with surgery, there's always a risk of not achieving the desired benefit of the procedure.

Surgery is not an option for everyone. If you are considering surgery to treat your RA, you should first discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.