The decision to have surgery is understandably a very difficult one to make. All types of surgery carry risks to the individual and will require a recovery time. However, there can also be a lot of benefits to surgery, such as reducing pain and improving mobility.


Some surgeries will be more successful if undertaken at an earlier stage before any further damage has been done.

Surgery, like all areas of medicine, is improving all the time, from new methods of surgery to new materials, such as implants and innovations, such as 3D printing. Implants used in joint replacements last longer than ever before and recovery times have improved as more is understood about the best aftercare advice to give to patients.

There are many different types of surgery that someone with RA may need because of their healthcare condition, from removal of bunions to replacement of or fusing of joints. Often, surgery will require a period of stopping or reducing medications, and specific advice will be given for how long treatments are stopped for, depending on the nature of both the surgery and the drug.

Joint replacement surgery is less common now than it used to be, due to advancements in the treatment and management of RA, but it is sometimes necessary, especially for people who have RA more severely and/or have had the condition for a long time.

Information on surgery, as well as personal accounts from people who have had the surgery themselves, can help with the decision of whether or not to proceed with surgery, as well as offering reassurance and answers about any concerns you may have.

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