- Trauma and Orthopaedics
- Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic disease that requires coordinated management by rheumatologists, surgical specialists and therapists working in a multidisciplinary team. Differences of opinion within the team may adversely affect patient care. Our aim was to assess differences in perception about rheumatoid hand surgery between rheumatologists, hand surgeons and hand therapists in the UK. We used a postal questionnaire to assess commonly performed rheumatoid hand operations. For each procedure, respondents rated the most important indication for surgery and scored effectiveness at reducing pain, improving function and aesthetics, and preventing deformity. Statistically significant differences were found between all three groups with regards to expected outcome and main indications for surgery. We concluded that significant differences do exist in the perceptions of rheumatologists, surgeons and therapists. Rheumatoid hand operations require more detailed study, clarifying indications and outcome to allow consistent advice to patients from all members of the multidisciplinary team.