What is an ankle arthroscopy?
Also known as key hole surgery or minimally invasive ankle surgery. Ankle arthroscopy involves using very small incisions to gain access into the ankle joint. Each incision is less than 1cm and usually two incisions are required. The ankle joint is relatively small and to allow good surgical access to the joint, its dimensions need temporarily to be increased. This is done using a combination of distraction across the joint together with having a stream of pressurized fluid circulating through the joint which distends it.
Not all ankle surgery can be done or is sensible to try using arthroscopy. The list of conditions below is comprehensive for those disorders in which the technique is useful. The alternative is open ankle surgery which results in larger scars and generally more post-operative pain. For certain cases though this is unavoidable.
The inside of the ankle joint can be inspected using a small camera with operations carried out on the joint using small, specially designed instruments. The various disorders in which the technique is useful : - Ankle arthritis - Footballers ankle (Anterior Ankle Impingement) - Unstable ankle - Lateral ligament reconstruction - Ankle pain following fracture - Loose bodies within the ankle - Osteochondral defects of the talus - Diseases of the synovium - Undiagnosed ankle pain
Why ankle arthroscopy?
The alternative to ankle arthroscopy is open ankle surgery. The very small incisions used result in minimal soft tissue disruption and trauma. This in turn results in:
Significantly lower pain levels than an open approach
The ankle is comfortable to weight bear through on the day of surgery
Most cases can be performed as day cases
Lower infection rates than open surgery
Earlier return to work/function/sports
Minimal effect if further surgery to the ankle is required