When is surgery indicated for a swan-neck deformity in rheumatoid arthritis (RA)?

Updated: Jan 11, 2019
  • Author: Michael Neumeister, MD, FRCSC, FACS; Chief Editor: Joseph A Molnar, MD, PhD, FACS  more...
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Answer

Answer

Surgical intervention for the swan-neck deformity is advised when active flexion of the PIP joint from its hyperextended position is not possible or occurs with a bothersome snap. Multiple surgical procedures are available for the correction of this deformity, and accurate staging of the deformity is necessary for selection of the most appropriate surgical technique. The staging is based on the condition of the articular cartilage—which is determined by radiography—and on the flexibility of the PIP joint.


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