Surgical management of end-stage rheumatoid wrists is a contentious topic. The standard surgical treatment has traditionally been wrist arthrodesis. Wrist arthroplasty, however, offers an alternative that preserves some wrist motion. A systematic review of MEDLINE, EMBASE and CENTRAL databases was conducted. Data from 23 studies representing 343 cases of wrist arthrodesis and 618 cases of wrist arthroplasty were included. Complication rates were 17% for arthrodesis and 19% for arthroplasty, and both procedures were effective at alleviating pain and improving grip strength. Functional assessment by Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand and Patient-Related Wrist Evaluation of arthroplasty patients revealed clinically meaningful functional improvement compared with preoperative measurements. In contrast to previously published findings both procedures demonstrated comparable complication rates. While this can be speculated to be from advancements in prosthetics, robust long-term follow-up data on wrist arthroplasty are not available yet.