We report the unusual case of a patient with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)-associated arthritis mutilans. Arthritis mutilans is a variant of erosive arthritis that is more commonly reported with psoriatic and rheumatoid arthritis and not with SLE. Joint fusion has been shown to be the most effective measure to preserve bone length and prevent further erosive joint changes in arthritis mutilans. We attempted to enhance success of a thumb interphalangeal joint fusion in our patient by adding compression across the fusion with implant screws, given the difficulty of achieving solid bone fusion ordinarily. Osteolysis around the compression screw resulted in arthrodesis failure. We were finally able to achieve successful fusion with iliac crest corticocancellous bone grafts and Kirschner wire fixation. Implant athroplasty in patients with bone loss is risky as it often furthers joint instability because of bone resorption around the prosthesis. This is a point of caution regarding use of any implant (including large screws) in patients with arthritis mutilans, as osteolysis around the implant may occur.
- Compression screw
- Lupus-associated arthritis mutilans
- Small joint arthrodesis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine