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Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (cont.)

Surgery for Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

Surgery is not usually needed in JRA.

  • Some children with persisting pauciarticular JRA, despite medical treatment, may benefit from steroid injections into a joint. This may be done by a rheumatologist, an orthopedic surgeon, or in some cases a child's primary care professional.
  • Joint replacement (often of the hips, in patients with polyarticular JRA) usually is delayed until bone growth has completed.
  • At one time, part of the synovium was removed (synovectomy) in very severe cases to prevent joint damage. With improvements in medical treatment, this procedure is now rarely necessary.

Other Therapy

A variety of complementary approaches can be very effective in relieving pain. These include acupuncture and massage. These are not necessary but may help your child feel more comfortable.


Whenever possible, children with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis should receive their care from a multidisciplinary center that specializes in pediatric rheumatologic care. However, such centers are not common and are mostly confined to large medical centers.

Children with JRA must be evaluated regularly by the provider supervising care of their disease. This provider will give referrals to appropriate specialists, who will evaluate the child for development of preventable and/or treatable complications. Care will continue throughout childhood and adolescence. Children who go on to develop adult-type RA require medical care for their entire lives.

Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis Prevention

We do not know how to prevent JRA. Following recommended treatment is the best way to prevent worsening of the disease. If left untreated, JRA will continue to worsen and eventually can lead to joint damage and disability, and possibly other serious complications.

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Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) is not a single disease.

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