Patients who suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) often develop joint deformities in the hand or wrist that are do not respond to conventional medical management. When this is the case, surgical intervention is often necessary. The deformities caused by RA can lead to loss of the ability to grip, grasp, and pinch, often leaving the patient unable to perform the activities of daily living.
Surgical intervention can help alleviate pain, improve function, retard progression of the disease, and improve appearance. Patients who experience a successful outcome typically feel more independence and have a greater self-image.
Surgical treatments for RA of the hand and wrist include may include synovectomy, tenosynovectomy, tendon realignment, reconstructive surgery or arthroplasty, and arthrodesis.
The sooner the better when it comes to a successful intervention of an RA deformity. Patients whose surgery occurred early in the deformity’s course are far more likely to have a favorable outcome–without the lasting effects that a deformity can cause.
Dr. Robert Unsell provides complete management of RA, including surgical and non-surgical treatment options and therapies.
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Meet the Doctor
After graduating from Loma Linda School of Medicine Dr. Unsell spent more than a decade serving at Loma Linda in several positions including the Assistant Professor of Orthopedics as well as the Assistant director of the Hand Fellowship Program. He has been involved with the training of 35 hand fellows, 15 of which now hold academic teaching positions.