Arthritis Specialist

Advanced Plastic and Hand Surgery

Hand Surgeons & Plastic Surgeons located in Kettering, OH

Technology and treatments have advanced tremendously when it comes to successfully restoring form and function to hands plagued by rheumatoid arthritis. Dr. Sunishka Wimalawansa is a board-certified plastic and hand surgeon, with additional specialized fellowship training and additional certifications in surgery of the hand and upper extremity, in Kettering, Ohio and serving Dayton, OH, practices from the offices of Advanced Plastic and Hand Surgery. This talented and caring surgeon has amazing skills and considerable experience in helping patients with arthritis overcome painful deformities and loss of hand mobility with innovative surgical treatments that work. Call today to make your appointment or try the convenient online scheduling service.

Arthritis Q & A

Advanced Plastic and Hand Surgery

How Can Surgery Help with Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation and destruction of the protective cartilage in the joints of your wrist and hand. This breakdown of the cartilage leads to increasing pain, swelling, and deformity of the joints.  It can also cause swelling of the ligaments and tendons, which causes further instability and deformity of the joints.

Surgery won’t cure rheumatoid arthritis, but there are many surgical treatments Dr. Wimalawansa can provide that decrease your pain, improve your mobility, and repair or stabilize the joint deformities caused by this often debilitating disease.   

What Other Hand Abnormalities are Related to Rheumatoid Arthritis?

The classic features of rheumatoid arthritis include rheumatoid nodules. These firm bumps can form anywhere but typically appear near joints in the hands, wrists, or elbows. They may be moveable or firmly fixed. As the nodules enlarge, they can become painful and interfere with function.

Advanced rheumatoid disease may prevent patients from straightening one or all fingers due to tendon rupture. It can result in prominence or collapse of the wrist bones. It can also cause severe angulation of the fingers and thumbs.

What Kind of Surgery Do You Perform for Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Depending on the level of your disease and the extent of your joint damage, Dr. Wimalawansa may recommend:

  • Tendon reconstruction
  • Joint fusion (arthrodesis)
  • Joint replacement (arthroplasty)

Can You Treat Other Forms of Hand Arthritis with Surgery?

Yes. Dr. Wimalawansa can provide the same surgical therapies to patients experiencing ongoing pain and loss of function due to severe osteoarthritis or “wear-and-tear” joint degeneration that’s typically caused by aging or previous injury.

What is the Difference Between Joint Fusion and Joint Replacement?

The two surgeries are radically different and the joint being treated often determines which procedure is recommended.

With arthrodesis, for example, Dr. Wimalawansa fuses the bones of a joint together. This creates a more stable, stronger, and essentially pain-free knuckle that has little flexibility or movement. It’s commonly recommended for the joints nearest the tip of your finger (distal interphalangeal joint) because these are not as vital to function.

With the significant decrease in pain following surgery, many patients often note their function has increased because they’re able to do more without limitations caused by pain.    

Arthroplasty, or joint replacement, is often recommended for the more mobile knuckles at the base of the fingers and the second joint in the finger.