J Rheum Dis.  2021 Oct;28(4):192-201. 10.4078/jrd.2021.28.4.192.

Rheumatoid Hand Surgery in the Era of Biologic Therapy: A Rheumatologist-oriented Overview

  • 1Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Kangwon National University Hospital, Kangwon National University College of Medicine, Chuncheon, Korea
  • 2Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seongnam, Korea


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can cause significant hand and wrist damage and dysfunction. The aim of medical treatment is to eradicate inflammation and prevent damage to joints and soft tissues. Advances in newer biological therapies over the last two decades have resulted in greater remission rates and lower disease activity status. Despite these improvements, surgical intervention is still indicated in cases of disability, irreversible deformities, and severe pain. However, there are large variations in the surgical rates of common rheumatoid hand procedures, which may indicate clinical uncertainty or disagreement between treating rheumatologists and hand surgeons. In this review, we provide a basic overview of common problems of the hand and wrist in RA patients. The target audience is rheumatologists for their better understanding of surgical options and for better informed patient consultation before referring to hand surgeons.


Rheumatoid arthritis; Biologic therapy; Surgery; Hand; Wrist
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