Rheumatoid Arthritis Surgery


If you have rheumatoid arthritis then you know the typical symptoms associated with RA like swelling, pain, and stiffness. You may notice warmth around the joint or deformities on your wrist. This might make simple tasks and daily activities very difficult to accomplish. Sometimes nodules or bumps form around your wrist as well. Occasionally you may also experience symptoms like fever, loss of appetite/weight loss, weakness, and decreased energy. Untreated rheumatoid arthritis can cause permanent damage and limited mobility. Orlando Hand Surgery Associates can help relieve your pain by removing bones rubbing on one another through a rheumatoid arthritis surgery.

How to Prepare for Surgery

Refrain from eating the morning of your surgery. You should be able to continue drinking water as normal. Avoid drinking other beverages, like soda, juice, or milk. We may also ask that you quit taking certain medications like aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs a few days before surgery. Ensure we know what medications you take regularly. Wear loose-fitting clothes that are easy to change into after surgery.


There are several surgical options used to treat your wrist arthritis pain. All of which are outpatient surgeries with regional anesthesia which means you get to return home after you wake up.

  • Proximal Row Carpectomy.​ The first option is where we will remove three bones in your wrist closest to the forearm. We reduce pain while maintaining your wrist motion.
  • Fusion.​ We will fuse the two painful bones in hopes that they heal forming a single bone. The hope is that if the bones don’t move they shouldn’t hurt. We will remove the damaged cartilage and use medical devices to permanently hold the joint in place. We can perform partial fusions and complete fusions.
  • Total Wrist Replacement.​ The final option is a total wrist replacement.


After you wake up from surgery if you had a fusion or joint replacement your wrist will be in a cast for anywhere between three and eight weeks. Then we may provide exercises for you to do at home or ask for you to attend physical therapy to regain strength and motion. Expect a full recovery in three to six months depending on the severity of your wrist arthritis.


If you received a total wrist replacement we were able to eliminate the painful bone-on-bone rubbing you experienced. During the proximal row carpectomy, three bones in your wrist are removed to provide more space for your bones to move pain-free. The fusion surgery allows us to take two or more bones and surgically fuse them as one preventing the painful rubbing.


Some patients experience pain and limited mobility after surgery if you opted for proximal row carpectomy or fused surgery. Other possible complications include infection, blood loss, and nerve damage as with any surgery.


While arthritis is never fully cured, we can treat your pain and stiffness through surgery.