Ankle Arthroscopy “Keyhole Surgery”
What is Ankle Arthroscopy?
Ankle Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure which utilises small “keyhole “incisions to visualise the ankle joint directly. A fiberoptic telescopic camera is inserted through these incisions to magnify ankle joint and diagnose any abnormalities with great clarity on a high definition television screen. Specialised instruments are then inserted through these “keyhole” incisions to facilitate treatment of the abnormality.
What is the Ankle Arthroscopy used for?
Ankle arthroscopy is used in the treatment of many painful ankle conditions. The procedure is used for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes and in conjunction with many reconstructive surgeries. Common ankle conditions include joint surface damage, painful ankle spurs, impingement, inflammation, scarring, loose bodies, and instability. These conditions are often the result of trauma, fractures, infection, and arthritis.
What are the benefits of Ankle Arthroscopy?
Arthroscopy has major benefits for you and for Dr. Chow.
For you; Arthroscopic ankle surgery utilizes smaller incision with less soft tissue damage occurring. This results in less pain, less swelling, less scarring, and faster healing. There is a lower risk of infection due to decreased tissue exposure time and patients mobilize quicker and go home faster from hospital.
For Dr. Chow; Arthroscopic ankle surgery allows him to see better due to the magnification and clarity from the camera and perform better because the images allow him to isolate the areas of the ankle that need to be treated more precisely.
Do I qualify for Ankle Arthroscopy?
Dr. Chow will take a thorough history for which he needs to consider multiple factors to ensure that ankle arthroscopy is appropriate for you. Factors for consideration stiffness, skin quality, blood supply to the foot and ankle and active cellulitis.
A physical examination will be undertaken to evaluate the flexibility of the ankle and isolate any other areas of pain, instability, or tenderness.
Weight bearing x-rays of the foot and ankle are reviewed prior to look for evidence of osteoarthritis, deformity, or spurs in the ankle. A CT scan and MRI may be required to further investigate the ankle prior to surgery.
What should I expect after Ankle Arthroscopy?
Ankle Arthroscopy is performed as a day surgery procedure. Depending on the indication for surgery you will generally be able to weight bear and commence physiotherapy immediately. Dressings are to remain dry and intact until your first post-operative appointment. Expect 3-6 months for the swelling to settle.
If your ankle arthroscopy is for the treatment of a major cartilage injury you may be non-weightbearing for up to 6 weeks in a boot to give the cartilage a chance and heal. You will likely need to remain in hospital for 1 night and range of motion exercises will be commenced with physiotherapy after the sutures are removed 14 days after surgery. Full recovery from this injury may take up to 6 months.
Potential complications of Ankle Arthroscopy
All surgical procedures involve inherent risk of complications. However, these risks are generally uncommon and quite infrequent. These include anesthetic complications, wound infections, deep infections, nerve injury resulting in numbness/tingling/pins and needles, tendon injuries, bleeding, fracture, stiffness, chronic regional pain syndrome, blood clots and ongoing pain.