Surgical procedures and JIA

In some cases, you may need surgery for their arthritis or arthritis-related condition. These surgeries include joint injections, joint replacement surgery, jaw surgery, cataract surgery, or glaucoma surgery.

Joint injections

Joint injections are injections of corticosteroids (medication) directly into an inflamed joint. This can quickly control inflammation within a joint when other medicines have not worked.

Joint replacement surgery

Joint replacement surgery is not commonly done in young people with JIA. With this type of surgery, the entire joint is replaced with an artificial joint. In young people, this is only done when the joint is severely damaged. Generally, the surgery is not done until you have stopped growing.

Severe pain in a damaged joint is the usual cause for joint replacement surgery. The most commonly replaced joints are the hips and knees. Joint replacement surgery can help to reduce pain. The surgery can help make the joint function better.

Jaw surgery

This is done to correct jaw deformities such as a small jaw. Surgery usually happens in later adolescence or young adulthood.

Eye surgery

Sometimes eye inflammation​ can cause the lens to get cloudy. This is called a cataract. Eye inflammation can also cause the pressure inside the eye to become too high. This is called glaucoma.

Surgery for cataracts

There is no medicine to make cataracts go away. If the cataract is making your vision very blurry, then you can have cataract surgery. This is an outpatient operation where the lens of the eye is removed. Some hospitals will put an artificial lens in the eye at that time. However, the insertion of a permanent lens can sometimes cause serious complications. Instead, most hospitals will give you a contact lens to focus your eye after surgery.

Surgery for glaucoma

If eye drops or oral medicine cannot control your glaucoma, surgery may be recommended. There are several different types of surgery. All of these are outpatient day procedures.

The goal of glaucoma surgery is to reduce pressure by improving drainage of fluid in the eye.

Both glaucoma and cataract surgery can make your eye inflammation get worse at first. This is only temporary. You may need to increase your steroid eye drops or take some oral steroids around the time of surgery.

Less commonly, an operation may be needed to remove excess calcium on the surface of the eye. This procedure is called band keratopathy. It is done by applying a chemical that washes the calcium away.


Welcome to the Taking Charge: Managing JIA Online Program! In this section you will learn what to expect in the program, how to get started and how to set goals to better manage JIA.

JIA stands for juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Find out what causes JIA, the different types of JIA and how it will affect you now and in the future.

Diagnosing JIA may be difficult as joint pain and swelling may be a part of many different illnesses. Diagnosis of JIA typically includes a physical exam, blood tests and imaging studies.

Pain, stiffness, and tiredness or fatigue, are common symptoms of JIA. These symptoms can lead to difficulties with participating in school and sports activities, and enjoying time with your friends. Learn about pain, fatigue, and stiffness, how to manage symptoms and how these symptoms can cause stress.

There are several strategies you can use to help you cope with pain, stress, and sleep problems. These include relaxation, distraction, and managing your thoughts. In this section, learn more about how each of these strategies work.

When you know about your medications, you can talk to your doctor about them and make good choices for yourself. Find out about the different types of JIA medications, how they work, common side effects, and the importance of talking to your doctor about your medication plan.

Did you know that there are many other therapies that you can use to manage JIA symptoms? They can help to prevent complications so that you can do all the things you want to do. In this section, learn more about physical, occupational, and psychological therapies; maintaining healthy nutrition; surgical options for JIA, and more.

Your role in making decisions about your treatment plan is very important. Your health-care team and other members of your support system are available to help you make these decisions. In turn, they can help you to manage your JIA.

Whether you have JIA or not, you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Find out how to stay healthy and active, learn about puberty and relationships, healthy body image, and making healthy lifestyle choices.

Sometime between the ages of 18 to 22, you most likely will transition from your pediatric rheumatologist to the adult health care setting. At that time, there are a number of things you, your family, and your health-care team can do to help make this change go smoothly.