MedStar Health rheumatology experts are specially trained and equipped to diagnose and treat diseases of the joints, muscles, and bones. Although rheumatoid arthritis can be a serious disease, our treatment options help reduce its severity and longevity in every individual. We devote ourselves to continually researching causes and potential treatments, so we can assist all of our patients in leading lives with more mobility, activity, and tolerance.

Medications

  • Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) are used to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Examples of these medications include ibuprofen, aspirin, and indomethacin.
  • Analgesic drugs are used to relieve pain rather than decrease inflammation. Examples of these medications include propoxyphene and morphine.
  • Disease Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs (DMARDs) have become the standard for treating rheumatoid arthritis. DMARDs, which are used with NSAIDs to slow joint destruction caused by rheumatoid arthritis over time, have created a more effective treatment for patients

Surgery

  • Synovectomy is used to slow down or prevent damage to two joints that may have been affected more than others. By removing the diseased synovium, the amount of inflammatory tissue in the patient may be reduced.
  • Joint Replacement Surgery or Arthroplasty is used to reconstruct or replace damaged joints. Joint replacement surgery involves removal of the joint, resurfacing and relining the ends of the bones, and replacing the joint with a man-made component. This surgery has been successfully used to increase quality of life for people who are over 50, have serious disease progression, or who may be in a wheelchair. A new joint typically will last between 20 to 30 years.
  • Arthrodesis or Fusion fuses two joints together to increase stability and decrease pain in areas such as the ankles, fingers, and spine.