What causes the tissue destruction in rheumatoid arthritis (RA)?

Updated: Feb 07, 2020
  • Author: Howard R Smith, MD; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Answer

Ultimately, inflammation and exuberant proliferation of the synovium (ie, pannus) leads to destruction of various tissues, including cartilage (see the image below), bone, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels. Although the articular structures are the primary sites involved by RA, other tissues are also affected.

This gross photo shows destruction of the cartilag This gross photo shows destruction of the cartilage and erosion of the underlying bone with pannus from a patient with rheumatoid arthritis.

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