J Korean Rheum Assoc.  2009 Sep;16(3):175-180.

TNF Inhibitor Use during the Perioperative Period

  • 1Division of Rheumatology, Daejeon St. Mary's Hospital, The Catholic University of Korea, Daejeon, Korea.
  • 2Division of Rheumatology, Seoul St. Mary's Hospital, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea. rapark@catholic.ac.kr


Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors are now established as therapeutic agents for treating active rheumatoid arthritis (RA) that is resistant to conventional drug treatment. However, TNF Inhibitors decrease resistance to infection, including unusual infections such as tuberculosis, and they have been shown to impair wound healing in an experimental setting. To date, there is limited data on patients with RA regarding their infections or the complications of surgery performed while taking TNF inhibitors and there is no professional consensus about this. This problem emphasizes a need for awareness and communication between patients, the rheumatologist and the surgeon when treating patients with RA. We reviewed the effects of TNF inhibitors on the incidence of surgical site infection (SSI) and the risk factors for SSIs after performing elective surgery in patients with RA. TNF inhibitors should not be used during the perioperative period until conclusive evidence to the contrary is available.


TNF inhibitor; Rheumatoid arthritis; Surgery

MeSH Terms

Arthritis, Rheumatoid
Perioperative Period
Risk Factors
Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
Wound Healing
Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
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