Surgery is another alternative for patients with rheumatoid arthritis who want to repair joint and tissue damage. Common for hips and knees, total joint replacement surgery replaces damaged joints with prosthetics. Joint resection surgery removes parts of the bone to create more space between bone and joint in the fingers, ankles, elbows and shoulders. Joint fusion connects bones to a damaged joint. In the past 25 years, the number of rheumatoid arthritis patients undergoing surgery has declined due to advancements in medications and treatment.