Wound healing with medications for rheumatoid arthritis in hand surgery.
Introduction. Medications used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, such as corticosteroids, disease-modifying agents (DMARDs), and injectable biological agents (anti-TNFα), may have widespread effects on wound healing. In hand surgery, it is important to balance the risks of poor wound healing from continuing a medication against the risks of a flare of rheumatoid arthritis if a drug is temporarily discontinued. Materials and Methods. A United Kingdom (UK) group of 28 patients had metacarpophalangeal joint replacement surgery in 35 hands (140 wounds). All medication for rheumatoid arthritis was continued perioperatively, except for the injectable biological agents. Results. There were no instances of wound dehiscence or deep infection and only one episode of minor superficial infection. Conclusions. We conclude that provided care is taken to identify and treat any problems promptly, it is appropriate to continue most antirheumatoid medications in the perioperative period during hand surgery to reduce the risk of destabilising the patients' overall rheumatoid disease control.