Arthroscopy is a closed operation method where both imaging and treatment are performed through approximately 0.5 cm holes. Instead of making large incisions, like in open surgery, the procedure is performed through several small holes. A special, high-quality fiberoptic camera is inserted through one hole, and the other hole is used to insert arthroscopy-specific mini-size repair tools. The surgeon performs the treatment by viewing the area on the opposite high-resolution monitor. The biggest advantage of arthroscopy is the rapid and comfortable postoperative process. The small incision is effective in this process. On the other hand, it provides both patient and surgeon comfort and extra security during surgery.
Arthroscopy is frequently used for knee, shoulder, hip and ankle diseases. You can read our articles about knee arthroscopy, hip arthroscopy and shoulder arthroscopy for information about other methods. As the ankle is a small joint, ankle arthroscopy requires special experience. The joint size is increased using pressurized fluid to allow good surgical access. In open ankle surgery, scar tissue may form because of the large incision. In addition, postoperative pain is greater, recovery occurs later. Therefore, arthroscopic surgery should be applied for ankle problems.
In Which Diseases is Ankle Arthroscopy performed?
- Ankle osteoarthritis
- Anterior ankle impingement
- Unstable ankle
- Lateral ligament injuries
- Rheumatic diseases
- Undiagnosed ankle pain
- Osteochondral disorders of the talus
- Synovial disorders
- Removal of the joint mouse within the ankle
How is Ankle Arthroscopy performed?
Ankle arthroscopy is more difficult to perform than other joints. The reason is that the ankle is both anatomically challenging and small. Therefore, the surgeon must be experienced in ankle arthroscopy. Surgery can be performed under general or local anesthesia. Pressurized fluid is administered into the joint to enlarge the small area. In order to prevent joint damage, it is necessary to stretch the joint and expand the internal dimension of the joint. After the preparations are made, the camera and treatment devices are inserted through 0.5 cm holes made on both sides of the wrist. The surgeon manages the camera with one hand and performs the repair with the other. The physician monitors the images transmitted by the camera from the opposite high-resolution monitor.
Advantages of Ankle Arthroscopy
Arthroscopic surgery has obvious advantages, especially in the postoperative recovery period as it is closed surgery. The high-resolution camera, monitor, and light system provide safety during surgery. Arthroscopy is superior to other open surgery methods because two small incisions are made and a quality camera system is used. All advantages can be listed as follows:
- Faster recovery,
- Less pain,
- Providing detailed viewing to the physician,
- Providing comfort and safety during surgery,
- Less risk of infection,
- Less rate of complications,
- More aesthetic scar.
After Ankle Arthroscopy
The patient is discharged on the day of ankle arthroscopy or (usually) the next day. The ankle covered with elastic bandage remains in this dressing for about 2 weeks. With arthroscopy, pain is minimal and can be easily controlled with simple painkillers. It is recommended to keep the foot elevated for two days after surgery. Compliance with this recommendation is important to avoid swelling. If the patient is a professional sporter, return to active life depends entirely on the cause of arthroscopy. In some cases, it may be necessary to wait 6 months while returning to sports in 3 weeks. It is very important to perform the exercises given by the doctor regularly in order to accelerate the healing process and to make this process healthy. To learn more about arthroscopic surgery, please read our arthroscopy article.