Ankle arthroscopy

Definition

Ankle arthroscopy is surgery that uses a tiny camera and surgical tools to examine or repair the tissues inside or around your ankle. The camera is called an arthroscope. The procedure allows the doctor to detect problems and make repairs to your ankle without making larger cuts in the skin and tissue. This means that you may have less pain and recover more quickly than open surgery.

Description

You may receive general anesthesia before this surgery. This means you will be asleep and unable to feel pain. Or, you will have regional anesthesia. Your leg and ankle area will be numbed so that you do not feel any pain. If you receive regional anesthesia, you will also be given medicine to make you very sleepy during the operation.

During the procedure, the surgeon does the following:

At the end of the surgery, the incisions will be closed with stitches and covered with a dressing (bandage). Most surgeons take pictures from the video monitor during the procedure to show you what they found and what repairs they made.

Your surgeon may need to do open surgery if there is a lot of damage. Open surgery means you will have a large incision so that the surgeon can get directly to your bones and tissues.

Why the Procedure Is Performed

Arthroscopy may be recommended for these ankle problems:

Risks

Risks for anesthesia and surgery in general are:

Risks for ankle arthroscopy are:

Before the Procedure

Tell your health care provider what medicines you are taking. This includes medicines, supplements, or herbs you bought without a prescription.

During the 2 weeks before your surgery:

On the day of surgery:

After the Procedure

You can usually go home the same day after you recover from the anesthesia. You should have someone drive you home.

Follow any discharge instructions you're given. These may include:

Outlook (Prognosis)

Arthroscopy uses small cuts in the skin. Compared to open surgery, you may have:

The small cuts will heal quickly, and you may be able to resume your normal activities in a few days. But, if a lot of tissue in your ankle had to be repaired, it may take several weeks to heal. How quickly you heal depends on how complicated the surgery was.

You may be shown how to do gentle exercises as you heal. Or, your surgeon may recommend that you see a physical therapist to help you regain the full use of your ankle.


Review Date: 4/21/2019
Reviewed By: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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