Ankle Arthroscopy FAQs
What is arthroscopy?
Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure used to diagnose and treat injuries and abnormalities within the joints. The arthroscopy procedure is less invasive than traditional surgery and allows the doctor to view and repair joints without making a large incision. Only a small incision is need for an arthroscopy and small instruments are guided by a tiny camera that transmits images onto a computer screen. Accurate diagnosis and precise surgical treatment may be performed using the arthroscopy method.
What is ankle arthroscopy used for?
Ankle arthroscopy can be used to diagnose and treat a wide range of ankle conditions and relieve the chronic pain frequently associated with them. Ankle arthroscopy is often successful in treating:
- Tissue bands
- Ligament tears
- Articular cartilage damage
- Bone spurs
While ankle surgery once required an invasive open procedure that left patients with long hospital stays and recovery times, many of those procedures can now be performed with the simpler, less invasive arthroscopy.
How is the ankle arthroscopy procedure performed?
Ankle arthroscopy is performed on an outpatient basis and uses tiny incisions to access the ankle joint. This procedure is performed under general anesthesia. During the arthroscopy, a camera tube called an arthroscope is inserted into one of the incisions and small surgical instruments into the others. The arthroscope allows the surgeon to visually examine the ankle joint and guide the instruments to the area for treatment. The arthroscopy procedure usually takes 30 to 45 minutes to perform. During the procedure, some patients may experience pressure on the joints. Exercise and other strenuous activities should be avoided for six weeks after this procedure.
What are the benefits of the arthroscopy procedure?
Arthroscopy offers many benefits over a traditional open surgery because of its minimally invasive nature. This procedure has reduced the trauma associated with many ankle procedures, and offers patients the opportunity to get relief from their pain through a simple, outpatient procedure. Ankle arthroscopy offers patients:
- Shorter recovery times
- Less scarring
- Less bleeding
- Smaller incisions
After an arthroscopy, most patients experience less pain and discomfort than with traditional surgery.
What are the risks associated with the ankle arthroscopy procedure?
While ankle arthroscopy is considered a safe procedure, there are certain risks associated with any surgery. Risks may include infection, nerve or tissue damage, or blood clots. These risks are considered rare, as most patients undergo this procedure with little to no complications.