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Surgery for Psoriatic Arthritis

NYU Langone surgeons may recommend total joint replacement surgery if psoriatic arthritis has caused significant damage to the joints of the hands and feet that limits your ability to participate in everyday activities. In this procedure, surgeons replace the bones of the ankle or wrist joints with durable plastic and metal parts.

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These prosthetic parts mimic the motion of a healthy joint, restoring function and eliminating the pain caused by arthritis. However, because psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune condition, surgery does not control inflammation.

After administering general anesthesia, a surgeon makes an incision above the affected joint. He or she then removes the damaged bones and cartilage. Two metal pieces are implanted to replace the movable joint, and a plastic spacer is inserted between them to ensure the joint has a smooth gliding motion. The incision is closed with stitches.

After surgery, NYU Langone pain management specialists prescribe medication to ensure you are comfortable while your ankle or wrist begins to heal. You generally remain in the hospital overnight for observation.

When you are discharged from the hospital, our doctors provide you with a supportive splint that you wear for at least two weeks. If the ankle joint is replaced, most people also use crutches during this time to avoid putting weight on the foot and ankle.

Doctors schedule a follow-up appointment after 10 to 14 days to assess how well the affected joint is healing and to determine whether you should continue to wear the splint. After the joint heals, doctors recommend four to eight weeks of physical therapy as you recover strength, flexibility, and range of motion.

Many prosthetic joints last for years. However, a prosthetic joint can wear out and become unstable. Your surgeon may schedule annual follow-up appointments to monitor the implanted joint and, if necessary, explore surgical options to repair or replace aging parts.

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