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Rheumatology

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Rheumatology

Rheumatology abroad can help patients identify specialist centres overseas. Rheumatology is the treatment of muscles, bones, joints and surrounding tissues, as well as certain autoimmune diseases. Rheumatologists focus on diagnosis and treatment of a variety of conditions, usually combating pain, stiffness, swelling or limited movement. The diagnosis itself can be difficult because of the challenge in determining the exact symptoms. Most diseases can be treated with medication, but rheumatologists also provide physiotherapy, or rehabilitation, for injured muscles and bones. Future treatments may involve gene therapy.

While rheumatoid disorders can be difficult to diagnose, treating them may be as simple as taking a medication or as involved as surgery. Typical rheumatology treatments utilise blood tests, X-rays and CT scans. Surgery is not usually required unless the condition has done extensive damage, continues to cause serious pain, or the patient is not responding to traditional methods.

Common rheumatology procedures

One of the most common cases treated by rheumatologists is rheumatoid arthritis. It usually affects the smaller joints in the hands and feet and can be treated by steroid injections. In the case of osteoarthritis, treatments like arthroscopy or joint replacement may be considered when the joint is seriously damaged or the patient is experiencing significant pain. Osteoporosis, another common treatment area can be treated by hormone replacement therapy, and tendonitis requires surgery in case of an infection, a rupture of a tendon, or more commonly a tear of the Achilles tendon.

Other typical cases involve disc degeneration and the entrapment of nerve roots. Other common areas include treating the permanent damage caused by vasculitis, the inflammation of a blood vessel, which requires sinus surgery, kidney transplantation or vascular bypass grafting.

Destinations

For a full list of available destinations for rheumatologic procedures, please refer to search box located to the right.

Useful links

Find more in-depth information on rheumatology at:

British Society for Rheumatology - www.rheumatology.org.uk

American College of Rheumatology - www.rheumatology.org/​public/​factsheets/​index.asp

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Page last updated: Monday, 23rd November 2009