Arthritis is a disease that attacks the lining of your joints or the cartilage, a smooth connective tissue at the end of bones. This disease can cause severe pain, swelling, stiffness, and deformity and make everyday tasks more difficult. It can limit your ability to fully participate in leisure activities and work. There are many different forms of arthritis and related diseases, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
This disease can affect different joints in your body, and it’s very common in the hands, which have many joints. If you have arthritis in your hands, your doctor may prescribe pain medication or give you steroid injections to reduce inflammation and pain. You may also be told to adhere to a special diet and use a splint to support your hand.
If these non-surgical treatment methods don’t provide enough relief or improve mobility, your doctor may recommend plastic surgery. The following are types of plastic surgery that can help treat arthritis of the hands:
This type of surgery uses a plate and screws to fuse the bones of your joint. As a result, it will be stronger, more stable, and less painful, but it will be less flexible. It’s sometimes recommended if your joints, ligaments, and tendons are damaged.
Arthroplasty uses an artificial joint to replace a joint damaged by arthritis. It relieves pain and restores the function of your fingers. Though mobility may not be as great as it was originally, arthroplasty has a high success rate and offers significant benefits.
This surgery removes inflamed synovium, the tissue that lines your joints. If you have inflammatory arthritis, the synovium can grow excessively and attack your cartilage, so this type of surgery is often used to treat inflammatory arthritis.
Tendons connect muscles to bones, and they can become damaged due to ongoing inflammation of arthritis. A surgeon can transfer a portion of a healthy tendon to help your hand regain normal function.
This surgery is sometimes used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, which often affects tendons and joints. A surgeon splits or detaches affected ligaments to reduce pain and help restore movement and function.
Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that lets a surgeon make small incisions and remove bone and cartilage fragments that cause inflammation in your joints. The use of small incisions makes pain after your surgery minimal.
Important information to take away
Your doctor can let you know if you’re a good candidate for plastic surgery to treat arthritis of the hands. Surgery is not usually your first treatment option. Your doctor will probably suggest pain medication and other non-invasive treatments before recommending surgery. If these aren’t effective, they’ll consider your age, activity level, and the symptoms affecting your hands when recommending surgery. In some cases, different types of surgeries can be used to treat different joints on the same hand. Should you have any further questions or concerns, your local plastic surgeon can help give you the answers you need.