While general arthritis is mainly treated by physicians of other specialties, the Microsurgery Center provides surgical help in the treatment of hand arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a connective tissue disease deforming the wrist and altering the tendons. Rheumatoid arthritis is treated by rheumatologists and the majority of symptoms caused by this disease can be eliminated by using specific splints or physiotherapy. However, sometimes surgical intervention is necessary, and the surgery is performed by a hand surgeon.
Duration of the surgery: depends on the extent of surgery.
Anaesthesia: regional or general.
Treatment: in an out-patient setting or hospital.
Convalescence: following the surgery, local discomfort and pain may occur, which is well controlled with analgesic tablets. Wounds heal in 2 weeks. The wound should be dressed 2 to 3 times a week. After two weeks the skin sutures are removed. During the postoperative period the patient will have to use a specially designed splint, and undergo arm ergotherapy, and movement training for the fingers and arm.
Result: surgeons can reconstruct complications of rheumatoid arthritis, e.g. by extracting inflamed tissue from the joints, and by replacing deformed joints with artificial ones. The hand will not regain its full force following surgery, however its use in everyday life will be more comfortable.
It is important to remember that the surgery does not treat the underlying disease and treatment will need to be continued with the rheumatologist.