Ankle arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgery performed to treat problems in the ankle joint. The technique uses a thin camera in order to magnify and transmit images of the ankle to diagnose and treat several disorders of the ankle joint. Ankle arthroscopy procedures can help improve the function of the ankle as well as reduce pain. Ankle conditions, disorders, and injuries that can be treated with an ankle arthroscopy can include loose bodies in the ankle, ligament or tendon repairs, ankle infections, bone spurs, ankle instability, anterior ankle impingement, posterior ankle impingement, arthrofibrosis, synovitis, osteochondral defects, and ankle arthritis. The benefits of an ankle arthroscopic surgical technique can include less scarring, better results, faster rehabilitation, reduced risk of infection, and less time spent recovering after surgery in a hospital or outpatient surgical center.
What does an ankle arthroscopy involve?
To prepare for ankle arthroscopy surgery, the patient may need to refrain from eating or drinking for a certain period of time the day of the procedure. They may also need to stop taking certain medications such as blood thinners. The patient will also require transportation home after surgery if it is an outpatient procedure. After being brought to the operating room for the procedure, the patient will be given anesthesia. The patient’s ankle, leg and foot will be cleaned and sterilized. The ankle can be numbed with a local or regional anesthetic block. Once the patient is properly anesthetized, a small incision will be made for portals, which are small tubes. Portals will be placed in different areas in the ankle so that instruments and camera can be used. The surgeon will then conduct the procedure and view the ankle and complete any treatments required. Once the procedure is complete, the incisions will be stitched closed and bandages will be applied.
After the procedure the patient will be monitored while they recover and wake up from the anesthesia. Patients may be allowed to bear weight on the ankle with the assistance of crutches, but some may be required to be non-weight bearing on the extremity for up to six weeks. The patient should keep the area clean and dry while the incision heals. Pain medication may also be prescribed. Patients will need to ice and elevate their ankle in order to minimize swelling. Recovery time can vary for this surgical technique based on what treatment is needed. Patients may also require physical therapy.