An ankle arthroscopy is a surgical procedure that is used to help diagnose and address different issues in the ankle joint. It is a very helpful option because it is conducted on a minimally invasive basis, meaning that tissue damage is minimized and recovery time is shorter. Below, we take a closer look at why an ankle arthroscopy may be ordered and how the procedure is conducted.
Who Would Need An Ankle Arthroscopy?
As we mentioned above, an ankle arthroscopy can be the perfect option for patients dealing with a range of ankle conditions. Here’s a look at some of the conditions that can be treated with the help of ankle arthroscopy:
- Ankle Arthritis – An ankle arthroscopy can help debride the ankle joint if bone spurs or other impediments are contributing to arthritic degeneration, and ankle arthroscopy can provide a minimally invasive way to perform an ankle fusion procedure in patients with end-stage arthritis. This can lead to better outcomes than a standard open fusion procedure.
- Ankle Instability – If the ligaments that stabilize your ankle have been damaged, they may have difficulty supporting your ankle when you move, jump and run, which can lead to sprains or even fractures. Arthroscopic techniques can help to surgically strengthen these ankle ligaments, making them stronger than they were prior to the injury with only minimal impact from the operation itself.
- Ankle Fracture – Ankle arthroscopy may be paired with open techniques following an ankle fracture to help confirm bone realignment and to assess the extent of cartilage damage, ensuring the totality of the injury is successfully treated.
How Is Ankle Arthroscopy Performed?
Specifics of the procedure vary from patient to patient and depend on the goal of the operation itself, but here’s a general outlook at how the arthroscopy is performed. Most patients are given general anesthesia and are asleep for the procedure, but regional anesthesia may be given instead. Once you are unable to feel pain, the surgeon creates a small incision over the ankle area. A small tube is then inserted into the area, and connected to this tube is a microcamera that relays a live feed to a video monitor in the operating room. This allows the surgeon to visualize the ankle joint without needing to make a large incision.
Once inside the area, the surgeon can visualize structures and assess damage as needed. If the surgeon will also be correcting an issue, they will create a couple more small incisions and then insert small tools to address the area. The surgeon works by maneuvering these tools and watching the video feed to see their work. Damaged tissue can be removed and structures can be stabilized through this type of minimally invasive arthroscopy.
After the surgery is complete, the tools will be removed and the incision site will be closed with stitches. You’ll then be given recovery instructions based on your specific care, which may involve being non- or limited-weight bearing, physical therapy or other rehabilitative techniques. As one patient who underwent ankle arthroscopy with Dr. McDonald put it, “My arthritic pain was gone immediately. The rehab /post-op care was excellent. This surgery provided me with pain relief and vastly improved functionality of my ankle.”
So if you’re dealing with an ankle problem and struggling to find the right treatment, connect with Dr. McDonald. If needed, he can perform a simple ankle arthroscopy and help you get back to living a life free of ankle pain. For more information, contact his office today at (860) 244-8889.