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Elbow rheumatoid elbow: surgical treatment options


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disease characterized by peripheral polyarthritis. The elbow joint is estimated to be involved in 20 to 65 % of the patients with RA. The development of new pharmacologic agents and the adoption of early therapeutic interventions have translated into milder forms of polyarticular destruction. As a result, the traditional crippled rheumatoid patient has been replaced by rheumatoid patients with higher activity levels, higher expectations, and more demands on any reconstructive procedures performed. When nonoperative treatment is insufficient, surgery may be considered. Arthroscopic synovectomy has become the procedure of choice for rheumatoid patients with uncontrolled symptoms. Patients with more advanced joint destruction can be considered for elbow arthroplasty. Interposition arthroplasty may be considered for patients interested in avoiding the potential complications of elbow arthroplasty.

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Correspondence to Joaquin Sanchez-Sotelo.

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Joaquin Sanchez-Sotelo is a member of Tornier’s Surgeon Advisory Board for elbow arthroplasty.

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This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Elbow Soft Tissue Surgery

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Sanchez-Sotelo, J. Elbow rheumatoid elbow: surgical treatment options. Curr Rev Musculoskelet Med 9, 224–231 (2016).

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  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Synovectomy
  • Elbow arthroscopy
  • Total elbow arthroplasty
  • Interposition arthroplasty