WHAT IS ANKLE ARTHROSCOPIC SURGERY?
Ankle arthroscopic surgery is a minimally invasive surgical procedure used to treat conditions that affect the ankle joints. While each ankle arthroscopic surgery varies, the procedure generally involves creating a few small incisions, of approximately one centimeter in width, to access the ankle joint. An arthroscope, a small tube with a camera and light for viewing is inserted into one of the incisions, and small instruments to perform the operation are inserted through the other incisions.
BENEFITS OF ANKLE ARTHROSCOPIC SURGERY
Ankle arthroscopic surgeries have become more common as the indications for such surgery have increased. Compared to traditional open surgical procedures, arthroscopic surgery is much less invasive, using smaller incisions and resulting in minimal soft tissue disruption and trauma. Arthroscopic surgical procedures of the ankle are generally associated with:
- Faster healing
- Significantly lower pain levels
- Lower infection rates
- Earlier return to sports and activities of daily living
- Little scarring
WHEN ANKLE ARTHROSCOPIC SURGERY IS USED
Ankle arthroscopic surgery may not be a suitable treatment for all ankle conditions. In some cases, open ankle surgery is the best or only alternative to treat problems in the ankle. Ankle arthroscopy is typically useful in treating:
- Inflammation in the ankle
- Cartilage damage, such as tears, injury or wear
- Tendon damage
- Loose bone or cartilage
- Undiagnosed ankle pain
RECOVERY FROM ANKLE ARTHROSCOPIC SURGERY
The wounds created by the incisions during surgery generally take several days to heal following ankle arthroscopic surgery. Recovery time is dependent on the extent of the surgery and the individual patient. Surgery is done on an outpatient basis; meaning patients are able to leave the hospital several hours following the surgery. Patients typically return to normal daily activity within a few days, and are back to more strenuous activities and sports within a few weeks after the procedure is performed.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS FROM ANKLE ARTHROSCOPIC SURGERY
While complications from ankle arthroscopy are rare, the procedure does pose a few risks to be aware of. The largest risk is injuring other tissues and structures near the ankle joint. Since the area is rich in nerves, it is possible that the nerves could be affected during the procedure. Infection is also a risk of ankle arthroscopic surgery. Lastly, once the patient heals, it is possible that pain is not entirely relieved.