Bone Bulletin



Inflammatory arthritis is a debilitating systemic autoimmune and inflammatory disease that leads to joint damage, resulting in significant pain and disability. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most common inflammatory arthritis typically associated with advanced arthritic changes of the glenohumeral joint as well as with rotator cuff tears.20 Since the introduction of disease modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD) therapy, patients diagnosed with inflammatory rheumatic diseases have observed improvements in pain management and functional outcomes, alongside a reduction in the occurrence of upper limb arthroplasties.16 Nonetheless, total joint arthroplasty still remains common in the treatment of RA.8,14

One recognized challenge in shoulder arthroplasty in the context of inflammatory arthritis is the perioperative management of anti-inflammatory medications. Approximately 75-84% of patients undergoing arthroplasty take traditional DMARDs or biologics.14 Management of these medications currently varies across rheumatology organizations. For instance, the American College of Rheumatology recommends withholding tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α inhibitors for more than a week prior to surgery, British Society recommends withholding for 3-5 times the half-life of the drug, and Canadian Rheumatology Association propose withholding for 2 half-lives of the drug.14,22,31 Understanding the appropriate timing for discontinuing or continuing these medications is a critical element of perioperative management in shoulder arthroplasty, as it involves balancing the potential risks of post-operative disease flares with concerns for poor wound healing and infection.

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