Summary of Ankle Arthroscopy
Ankle Arthroscopy is keyhole surgery that describes the process by which a surgeon can investigate and treat a variety of ankle conditions. It is a less painful form of surgery that allows for faster recovery and full function of the ankle.
Ankle Arthroscopy FAQ's
Arthroscopy is the keyhole surgery used to discover what is causing the ankle problem, and hopefully treat it. It is performed under general anaesthetic in most cases so the patient feels no pain, however in some cases it may be performed under a regional anaesthetic – the patient is given drugs which block feeling in the ankle entirely. Once the anaesthetic has been administered, mechanical traction is used to open the joint and small incisions are made to allow access. A small telescope called the arthroscope is attached to a video camera and inserted through one of the incisions, allowing the surgeon to view inside the ankle joint to determine any damage. The surgeon may pass instruments through the incision to repaid or remove material causing the problem, and the cuts will then be closed using stitches or adhesive strips.
Injuries caused by sports, work, arthritis or wear and tar can cause inflammation to parts of the ankle, resulting in pain and issues with using the ankle. Arthroscopy allows the surgeon to gain a full picture of the inside of the ankle joint, so they can determine the most beneficial treatments or remedies. Arthroscopy may also be used to clean out the ankle joint via sterile fluid, repaid damaged ligaments, or trim and remove loose bone fragments that are causing pain.
Almost all surgeries of this kind are performed on an outpatient basis, so you will go home on the same day. The RICE therapy may be recommended in follow up, consisting of Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. The first 2-3 days after the operation are critical in performing the RICE therapy, as this will relieve swelling and ease the pain you may feel. Medications may also be prescribed to prevent infection. Any complications sustained during the surgery are minor and treatable, but must be checked – blood clots, infection, or a collection of blood in the ankle.
An arthroscopy of the ankle is often performed because of pain and reduced mobility, and so it is likely the muscles around the ankle will have become weakened due to lack of exercise. The likelihood is, if the arthroscopy was successful, you will be able to increase mobility again and exercise the muscles. Your therapist will recommend which exercises are best for you condition, including what you can and cannot do.
This may take a few weeks and it is important to follow the advice of your therapist or clinician very closely. Make sure you feel confident before driving again, often dictated by the ability to perform an emergency stop.