Lower limb joint replacement in rheumatoid arthritis

Nicholas D Clement, Stephen J Breusch, Leela C Biant

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


INTRODUCTION: There is limited literature regarding the peri-operative and surgical management of patients with rheumatoid disease undergoing lower limb arthroplasty. This review article summarises factors involved in the peri-operative management of major lower limb arthroplasty surgery for patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

METHODS: We performed a search of the medical literature, using the PubMed search engine (http://www.pubmed.gov). We used the following terms: 'rheumatoid' 'replacement' 'arthroplasty' and 'outcome'.

FINDINGS: The patient should be optimised pre-operatively using a multidisciplinary approach. The continued use of methotrexate does not increase infection risk, and aids recovery. Biologic agents should be stopped pre-operatively due the increased infection rate. Patients should be made aware of the increased risk of infection and periprosthetic fracture rates associated with their disease. The surgical sequence is commonly hip, knee and then ankle. Cemented total hip replacement (THR) and total knee replacement (TKR) have superior survival rates over uncemented components. The evidence is not clear regarding a cruciate sacrificing versus retaining in TKR, but a cruciate sacrificing component limits the risk early instability and potential revision. Patella resurfacing as part of a TKR is associated with improved outcomes. The results of total ankle replacement remain inferior to THR and TKR. RA patients achieve equivalent pain relief, but their rehabilitation is slower and their functional outcome is not as good. However, the key to managing these complicated patients is to work as part of a multidisciplinary team to optimise their outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27
JournalJournal of orthopaedic surgery and research
Issue number27
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2012


  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid/surgery
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement/adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Lower Extremity/surgery
  • Preoperative Period
  • Reoperation
  • Treatment Outcome


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