Ankle Arthroscopy: How the Surgery is Performed

By Dr. Andrew Ebert on November 15, 2016

A person's ankle in motionHere at Orthopaedic Specialists of Austin, our goal is always to provide relief and restore mobility. By offering the latest in surgical techniques and technologies, we feel that we can improve quality of our patient's lives.

When performing advanced ankle surgery, we prefer minimally invasive procedures when possible. With this in mind, let's take a moment to consider the basics of ankle arthroscopy.

About Ankle Arthroscopy

Ankle arthroscopy is a type of minimally invasive surgery that is performed on the ankles. The procedure uses a fiber optic camera and special surgical tools that are inserted into the ankle through small incisions. Working through these incisions, an orthopedic surgeon can make the necessary adjustments and corrections to the hard tissue and soft tissue of the ankle joint as needed.

Common Reasons That Ankle Arthroscopy Is Performed

Some ankle joint disorders that are commonly treated through ankle arthroscopy include the following:

  • Ankle fractures
  • Ankle instability
  • Arthritis that affects the ankle
  • Osteochondral defect (OCD)
  • Arthrofibrosis
  • Synovitis
  • Posterior ankle impingement

Ideal Candidates for Ankle Arthroscopy

The ideal candidates for ankle arthroscopy are people who suffer from any of the conditions listed above or unidentified issues that affect the overall flexibility and use of the ankle joint. People who experience significant ankle pain can also benefit from this procedure. Candidates for ankle arthroscopy should be in generally good healthy such that a minimally invasive surgery does not pose a significant risk to general wellness.

Benefits of Ankle Arthroscopy Over Open Surgery

Ankle arthroscopy is preferable to open ankle surgery for many reasons. The benefits of ankle arthroscopy include:

  • Less blood loss during surgery
  • Reduced risk of infection and other complications
  • Faster healing times
  • Smaller and less prominent scars
  • Less pain during post-op recovery
  • Milder side effects as patients heal

How Ankle Arthroscopy Is Performed

Patients will be placed under general anesthetic for the ankle arthroscopy to reduce discomfort and anxiety during the surgical procedure. At least two incisions will be made. The location of these incisions will vary depending on the nature of the patient's case. Through these small incisions, the fiber optic camera and any arthroscopic instruments can be inserted and manipulated.

Once the surgical corrections have been made, the incision sites are sutured shut. Patients are often given a splint or surgical boot to wear for support as they heal.

Recovery from Ankle Arthroscopy

Recovery after ankle arthroscopy can vary depending on the nature of surgery. All patients, however, will experience some degree of pain and discomfort in the first several days after surgery. This can be alleviated with the use of recommended pain relievers. Patients should keep their leg elevated as they rest and sleep.

Since the nature of surgeries can vary, some patients may be able to walk normally again within a few days, whereas other patients may have to wait a few months before they can put weight on their ankle. Be sure to follow your post-op instruction carefully, and to attend any surgical follow-up appointments as scheduled.

The Results of Ankle Arthroscopy

Patients who undergo ankle arthroscopy will typically experience reduced ankle pain and improved movement of the ankle joint. This should improve overall mobility and quality of life in the process. Keep in mind that some results may vary depending on the severity and type of condition that a patient has had to endure.

Contact Orthopaedic Specialists of Austin

For more information about ankle arthroscopy and whether or not it's ideal for you, be sure to contact our experienced orthopedic surgery specialists today. We will work with you to ensure that you receive the surgical attention you deserve.

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