If joint damage becomes severe, surgery on the affected joint may relieve pain and (in some cases) improve joint function. Joint replacement, for example, involves removing a damaged joint and replacing it with an artificial one. This can reduce pain while also preserving or improving the function of the joint. Another procedure—joint fusion—involves fusing together the bones in a joint. This eliminates the ability of the joint to move, but provides stability and pain relief. Surgery may also be used to repair or remove damaged tissue.1

  • The Hospital for Special Surgery is an excellent resource for information on surgical management for chronic inflammatory conditions.
  • Understanding Joint Replacement

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1 National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Handout on Health: Rheumatoid Arthritis. Last revised April 2009.