Abstract

Surgical management of Juvenile Inflammatory Arthritis (JIA) presents many challenges for the patient, healthcare team and especially the orthopedic surgeon. Collaborative care efforts must be endorsed early on in order to facilitate maximal postoperative functional ability. Developmental levels, both physically and emotionally must be established preoperatively. It is important to determine bone age and growth plate closure to establish the best surgical intervention and avoid leg-length discrepancies later in life. Emotional maturity may impede the ability of the patient to manage pain or follow directions throughout the recuperative process. Surgical challenges require a team approach that includes rheumatologists who can manage disease modifying agents and the effects of discontinuing medications or planning surgery around dosing regimens in order to decrease immunosuppression. Managing multiple joint issues will require an expert team of occupational and physical therapists to prepare adaptive devices and rehabilitate patients who have significant functional limitations and decreased muscular strength. Because of an anticipated longer and more difficult recovery for JIA patients, case managers must engage in support systems and plan for postoperative care prior to surgery. Implant specific devices need to accommodate small bone structure, bone loss and complex deformities along with diaphyseal or epiphyseal dysplasia. Neurologic assessments will avoid cervical spine compromise during anesthesia administration. Bilateral procedures in the lower extremities should be considered whenever flexion contractures are present and should take place prior to upper extremity joint replacements. Restoring function to the hand and wrist takes priority over elbow and shoulder replacement, respectively. The key factors of appropriate surgical management in JIA patients are to decrease pain, restore function and avoid loss of ambulation at a young age. Extensive preoperative planning and communication with the patient, support system and healthcare team are warranted to address the complexities in this patient population.

Keywords: Juvenile inflammatory, Arthritis, Rheumatologists, Orthopedic surgery, Joint replacement, Surgical management.
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