Surgery for Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis
For children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), previously known as juvenile rheumatoic arthritis, surgery is rarely needed. Usually, non-surgical treatments, including medications and physical therapy, are sufficient.
However, there are a few scenarios where surgery may be recommended:
- Spinal deformity: In severe cases, the way JIA affects the joints in the spine can cause it to curve too much. Surgery can address this deformity.
- Spinal instability: JIA can make it more difficult for the spine's joints to move properly, and that can lead to spinal instability—when the spine doesn't function as it should to cushion movements and support weight.
- Nerve problems: Depending on how and where JIA affects spinal joints, nerve problems (eg, pinched nerve) can develop. This can cause a lot of pain, but it can also cause weakness, tingling, burning sensations, and/or muscle spasms.
There are several types of surgeries the surgeon can use to correct the spinal problem caused by JIA. He or she will make the best recommendation based on the individual case.