Joint replacement surgery has long been considered the gold standard of treatment for advanced osteoarthritis. Until recently, however, some have questioned the efficacy of joint replacement for the treatment of another type of arthritis – rheumatoid arthritis.

According to recent studies presented at the 2013 European League Against Rheumatism Annual Congress, individuals with rheumatoid arthritis can benefit as much from joint replacement surgery as patients with osteoarthritis. Of over 6,000 participants who were evaluated at the two year mark after total knee replacement or total hip replacement, 92 percent of rheumatoid arthritis patients reported significant improvement in function and reduction of pain (compared with 96 percent of osteoarthritis patients). These results suggest that many individuals suffering from the debilitating symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis could actually benefit from joint replacement surgery, once thought to mainly be of help to patients suffering from advanced osteoarthritis.

The Joint Surgery Center of Excellence houses a team of renowned Los Angeles orthopedic surgeons specializing in joint replacement surgery. Our surgeons are leading experts in the use of minimally invasive technology and advanced surgical techniques, which results directly in a higher quality of care and enhanced surgical outcomes.

To learn more about treatment for rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, or to schedule an initial consultation, please contact our office at (888) 318-2842.

What is the Difference Between Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder, in which your immune system mistakenly attacks your own body’s tissues and causes chronic inflammatory damage to the lining of your joints. Osteoarthritis, on the other hand, is characterized by joint overuse or age-related wear and tear that results in cartilage degeneration.

In each case, as the protective cartilage lining a joint breaks down, swelling and inflammation can lead to bone erosion, joint deformity, and chronic pain and stiffness. However, since the underlying cause of the degenerative joint condition is different, treatment for both forms of arthritis can differ. As an autoimmune condition, rheumatoid arthritis is often initially treated through immunosuppressant and anti-inflammatory medications. Early treatment for osteoarthritis may, on the other hand, involve physical therapy or activity modification, local steroid injections, or similar anti-inflammatory medication.

When to Consider Joint Replacement Surgery

Our surgeons typically recommend joint replacement surgery to patients who have already attempted more conservative therapies without significant improvement. These individuals often note that chronic pain and stiffness has limited their ability to perform daily tasks and has decreased their overall quality of life.

Joint replacement surgery is a complicated, yet highly effective, procedure that involves removing the damaged structures in a joint and replacing them with prosthetic surfaces. In order to achieve the best long-term results, patients undergoing this surgery must commit to several months of rigorous physical rehabilitation after the surgery.

When performed by an experienced orthopedic surgeon, joint replacement surgery is a highly successful treatment option for individuals suffering from the debilitating symptoms of osteoarthritis, and now, according to recent studies, there is significant evidence that people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis may be able to achieve similar successes in pain relief from this procedure.

Contact a Los Angeles Joint Replacement Surgeon

The Joint Surgery Center of Excellence boasts a team of highly skilled orthopedic surgeons specializing in knee, hip, and shoulder replacement surgery. Our surgeons have trained at some of the country’s most prestigious medical institutions and are leaders and innovators in the field of advanced orthopedic surgery.

To learn more about joint replacement surgery or to schedule your initial consultation with a world-renowned orthopedic surgeon, please contact us by calling (888) 318-2842 or by filling out our online contact form.

Next, learn about total shoulder replacement.