Ankle arthroscopy involves using very small incisions to gain access into the ankle joint. Each incision is less than 1cm and usually two incisions are required. The ankle joint is relatively small and to allow good surgical access to the joint, its dimensions need temporarily to be increased. This is done using a combination of distraction across the joint together with having a stream of pressurized fluid circulating through the joint which distends it .
Arthroscopic ankle surgery may be a treatment option for certain types of ankle pain. Arthroscopic surgery is a procedure that involves inserting a small camera inside the joint. Through other small incisions, instruments can be inserted to repair or remove damaged structures. Arthroscopic ankle surgery is often called “scoping the ankle” or arthroscopy.
Ankle arthroscopy can be done under general or regional anesthesia. After adequate anesthesia, surgeon will create ‘portals’ to gain access to the ankle joint. The portals are placed in specific locations to minimize the potential for injury to surrounding nerves, blood vessels, and tendons. Through one portal, a camera is placed into the joint, and through others, small instruments can be used to address the problem.
The length of the ankle arthroscopy procedure varies depending on what doctor needs to accomplish. After surgery, the ankle of patient will be wrapped in a soft bandage or splint. Most patients will work with a physical therapist to regain motion and strength of the joint. The length of rehabilitation will also vary depending on what procedure is performed at the time of surgery.