Arthroscopic Ankle Surgery

Ankle arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure in which an arthroscope is inserted into the ankle joint to evaluate and treat a variety of conditions.

An arthroscope is a small, fibre-optic instrument consisting of a lens, light source, and video camera. The camera projects an image of the inside of the joint onto a large screen monitor allowing the surgeon to look for any damage, assess the type of injury, and repair the problem. 

Indications

Ankle Arthroscopy, also referred to as keyhole surgery or minimally invasive surgery, can be used in managing various ankle disorders including ankle arthritis, unstable ankles, ankle fractures, osteochondral defects of the talus, infection, and undiagnosed ankle pain.

The benefits of arthroscopy compared to the alternative, open ankle surgery, include:

  • Smaller incisions
  • Minimal soft tissue trauma
  • Less pain
  • Faster healing time
  • Lower infection rate
  • Less scarring
  • Earlier mobilisation
  • Shorter hospital stay

Procedure

Two small incisions (portals) are made around the ankle joint. The arthroscopy camera is inserted into one of the portals, and sterile saline solution is pumped into the ankle joint. The inside of the ankle joint is viewed on the television screen, and the extent of damage can be evaluated. Small instruments are inserted through the other portal to assess and treat the problem.

After the surgery, the instruments are removed, and the incisions are stitched closed and covered with dressings and a bandage. 

Post-surgical care

Whilst dependent on the type of arthroscopic surgery undertaken, most patients are allowed to weightbear straight away. The surgical incisions must be kept clean and dry in order to minimise the risk of infection. Generally, rest and elevation is advised for the first 5-7 days in order to minimise swelling and pain. Follow your post-operative instructions for the best outcome.

Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek an opinion from an appropriately qualified orthopaedic surgeon.