Ankle Arthroscopy (Closed) Surgery, is a surgical procedure that uses a fibre optic camera called an arthroscope and small surgical instruments to treat problems in the ankle joint. It is applied for the diagnosis and treatment of various ankle disorders. Since arthroscopic surgery is performed with small incisions, it carries less risk of infection and shorter recovery time compared to open surgery.
It is applied in the treatment of problems such as cartilage lesions of the ankle, soft tissue and bone squeezing pain, free body removal from the joint, and cleaning of synovitis in rheumatological diseases. Also, if there is severe sprained ligament damage, the surgeon may choose to perform arthroscopy to assess and possibly treat the extent of the damage.
Before Arthroscopic Ankle Surgery
Food and drink consumption should be stopped until about 6 to 12 hours before the surgery. The patient should inform his doctor about their medical history, as there may be a need to stop taking blood thinners. As long as there are no complications, the procedure is done as an outpatient procedure, the patient is usually discharged after completing the hospital stay of 1 or 2 days.
What Happens During the Process?
Arthroscopic ankle surgery can be performed under regional or general anesthesia. The surgeon makes incisions to access the ankle joint. Incisions are placed at specific locations to minimize the potential for damage to surrounding nerves, blood vessels, and tendons. The surgeon inserts the arthroscope into the ankle through these incisions and inserts small surgical instruments through the other incisions to treat the problem. It uses the images projected on the monitor through the arthroscope to guide the surgical instruments.
After the procedure is finished, the instruments and arthroscope are removed and the small incisions are closed with sutures. If a complicated procedure has occurred, such as ankle reshaping, the surgeon may choose to put your ankle in a cast to prevent ankle movement and speed healing. The duration of the operation may vary with the specifics of the operation. After surgery, the ankle is wrapped in a soft bandage or splint. Most patients will work with a physical therapist to regain joint motion and strength. The rehabilitation period varies depending on which procedure is performed during the surgery.
What are the Benefits of Ankle Arthroscopy Surgery?
In arthroscopic ankle surgery, the surgeon performs the procedure with small incisions. This minimizes the risk of complications such as infection and bleeding after large incisions in open ankle surgery. The procedure is usually done as an outpatient procedure, with patients discharged shortly after the procedure. Patients can begin rehabilitation earlier with a physical therapist and return to higher-level activities, such as sports, more quickly.
Recovery Process ( Post- Operative Period)
Time Swelling and pain in the ankle can be expected after arthroscopic ankle surgery. To reduce swelling, the leg should be kept elevated and an ice pack should be placed. The area should be kept clean and dry while the incisions heal. The doctor may prescribe pain medication to be used for a few days after the procedure. The patient can walk immediately or may have to wait several months before putting weight on the leg. This varies depending on the severity of the surgery performed and the surgeon’s recommendations. Cerah will share with the patient whether physical therapy is required and for how long sports activities are allowed.
Patients can return to work a few days after a relatively simple operation. However, most patients should expect to be absent from work for at least one to two weeks. It is possible to return to high-level sports after arthroscopic ankle surgery, but at least four to six weeks of recovery time are required before returning to such activities.
What Are the Risks of Ankle Arthroscopy Surgery?
Some complications can occur in every surgery. These complications include risks associated with anesthesia, infection, and bleeding or blood clots. Potential complications specific to arthroscopic ankle surgery include injury to the nerves and blood vessels around the ankle.
Numbness and tingling sensations in the feet occur in about 10 percent of patients. This problem usually goes away on its own over time. Due to the anatomical feature of the ankle, arthroscopic ankle surgery is more complex and challenging for the surgeon compared to shoulder and knee arthroscopy. For this reason, the operation must be performed by a surgeon experienced in the field of ankle arthroscopy.