Medical Problems of Performing ArtistsMedical Problems of Performing Artists

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Surgery on the hands of musicians with rheumatoid arthritis

Nikolaus Ell
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 17 Number 3: Page 121 (September 2002)

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Abstract: The essential requisites for successful operative treatment of hands affected by rheumatoid arthritis are a thorough knowledge of the disease and experience in the applicable specialized hand surgical techniques. In musicians, decisions about the indications for surgery, the particular technique to be used, and the disadvantages of each possible procedure require additional basic knowledge about musical instruments and how they are played. This paper provides an overview of the changes in the hand and their effects on musicians in the early stages and late stages of rheumatoid arthritis as well as the special considerations that must be taken into account for operative therapy in both the early and late stages of the disease. The choice of operative procedure is often dependent on the instrument played and may vary between the right and left hands, or even from one finger to the next. If at all possible, the anticipated results of an operation should be simulated and checked preoperatively by using static or dynamic testsplints.

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