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Can Surgery Remove Arthritis?

April 07, 2023

Arthritis is a chronic condition that causes inflammation, swelling, and pain in the joints. It can be debilitating, making it difficult to perform day-to-day activities such as walking or writing. Fortunately, for those who are suffering from this condition, there are treatment options available. One of these options is surgery – but does it work? In this blog, we’ll look at whether or not surgery can be used to treat arthritis and if so, what types of surgeries are available.

An Overview Of Arthritis

Arthritis is a term used to describe a group of conditions that cause inflammation and pain in the joints. It can affect people of all ages, although it is most commonly seen in adults over the age of 40. The two most common types of arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA). While both types of arthritis cause joint pain, stiffness, and swelling, the causes are different. RA is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation in the joints, while OA is caused by the natural wear and tear of aging on the joints.

Can Surgery Treat Arthritis?

Surgery can be used to treat both chronic and acute cases of arthritis. In some cases, surgery may be recommended to help relieve pain and improve the functioning of the affected joint. The two main types of surgery used to treat arthritis are joint replacement and arthroscopic surgery.

Joint replacement

Joint replacement surgery is a major procedure used to treat severe arthritis. It involves surgically replacing the damaged joint with an artificial joint, often made of metal or plastic components. During the surgery, the surgeon will make an incision in the knee or hip area and then remove the damaged bone and cartilage from that specific joint. The artificial joint is then inserted and secured into place. Joint replacement surgery can significantly reduce pain and increase the range of motion in the affected joint.

Arthroscopic surgery

Arthroscopic surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that can be used to treat chronic and acute cases of arthritis. During the procedure, the surgeon will make several small incisions near the affected joint and then insert a thin camera and specialized instruments. The surgeon can then use the camera and instruments to visualize the area inside the joint and remove any damaged or inflamed tissue. Arthroscopic surgery may also be used to repair ligaments, cartilage, or other soft tissues surrounding the joint that have been damaged by arthritis. This type of surgery is often less invasive and less painful than traditional open surgery, with fewer risks of complications associated with it.

Other Surgeries For Arthritis

In addition to these two types of surgery, there are other surgical treatments available for arthritis. These include:

  • Corticosteroid injections

Corticosteroid injections are a type of treatment that can be used to treat both acute and chronic cases of arthritis. The injection contains a combination of corticosteroids, which are powerful anti-inflammatory drugs, and anesthetic medications. These injections work by reducing inflammation in the joint and providing relief from pain. They usually take effect within one to two days after administration but may last up to several weeks in some cases.

  • Synovectomy

Synovectomy is a procedure that involves surgically removing the inflamed synovial tissue in the joint. During this procedure, excess fluid or damaged tissue is removed from around the joint to reduce swelling, relieve pain, and improve mobility. This surgery is usually performed on the knee, hip, elbow, or shoulder.

  • Joint fusion

Joint fusion is a procedure that involves permanently joining two bones in the affected joint together. This procedure can be used to reduce pain and improve the stability of a joint. It may also be recommended if other treatments are not effective. Joint fusion is usually performed on the spine, ankle, wrist, or big toe.

Other Treatments For Arthritis

In addition to surgical treatments, there are other non-surgical treatment options available for arthritis.

  • Physical therapy

Physical therapy is an important part of treating arthritis. It can help to strengthen the muscles around the affected joint, improve flexibility, and reduce pain. Physical therapists can also provide advice on how to modify daily activities and exercise to limit any further damage or strain on the affected joint. They may also recommend the use of assistive devices, such as a cane or walker, to help with mobility. Additionally, physical therapists can provide education about proper posture and body mechanics that can help prevent additional injury or pain.

  • Medication

In some cases, medication may be prescribed in addition to other treatments for arthritis. Common medications used include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). NSAIDs can help to reduce inflammation and pain while DMARDs can slow the progression of the disease. Corticosteroids may also be prescribed in some cases to provide short-term relief from joint swelling and pain.

  • Alternative Therapies

Alternative therapies, such as acupuncture and massage therapy, may also help treat arthritis. These therapies can help to relax tight muscles around the affected joint, reduce stress levels, and improve the range of motion. Additionally, certain dietary supplements are believed to have anti-inflammatory properties that may be beneficial for those with arthritis. However, it is important to speak with a doctor or other healthcare professional before starting any alternative therapies or taking any dietary supplements.


Arthritis is a common condition that can cause significant pain and disability. Fortunately, there are treatments available that can help to reduce the symptoms of arthritis and improve quality of life. Surgery may be recommended in some cases depending on the severity of the condition and other factors. Additionally, physical therapy, medications, and alternative therapies can also help to relieve pain and improve mobility. It is important to speak with your doctor or healthcare provider about all treatment options for arthritis to determine which one is best for you.