Ankle arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure use to treat problems in the ankle joint. Ankle arthroscopy uses a thin fiber-optic camera (arthroscope) that can magnify and transmit images of the ankle to a video screen.
What is arthroscopy used for?
Arthroscopy can be used to diagnose and treat different disorders of the ankle joint. The list of problems that can be treated with this technology is constantly evolving and includes:
Anterior ankle impingement
Arthrofibrosis (scar tissue build up in the ankle)
Loose bodies -such as cartilage or bone
Osteochondral defect (OCD- areas of damaged cartilage and bone in the ankle joint)
Posterior ankle impingement
Synovitis- soft tissue lining of the ankle joint (synovial tissue) can become inflamed.
Unexplained ankle symptoms – Arthroscopy provides the opportunity to look directly into the joint. The surgeon can then identify problems that may be treated with surgery.
General Details of Procedure
The surgeon makes appropriate measurements on the operative ankle prior to surgery. The patient is transported to the operating room and given anesthesia. The ankle skin is thoroughly cleaned. Two small incisions are made in the front of the ankle. These “portals” become the entry sites into the ankle for the arthroscopic camera and instruments. Sterile fluid flows into the joint to expand it and allow better visualization. The camera and instruments can be exchanged between portals to perform the surgery. After the surgery is complete, sutures are placed to close the portals. A sterile dressing is placed over the sutures. A splint or boot is often used.
What are the advantages of ankle arthroscopy?
Ankle arthroscopy allows the surgeon to see inside the ankle with only two small incisions. This minimizes complications, infection and pain. The procedure can be performed as an outpatient because of its minimally invasive nature. Patients will be able to begin rehabilitation sooner, and they may be able to return to high-level activities such as sports more quickly.