What is Ankle Arthroscopy?
Arthroscopy is a procedure used to treat and diagnose the problems associated with joints. It is a minor surgery and can be done on an outpatient basis. It involves using a fibre optic camera and a small surgical instrument to operate into and around the joint. That means you are discharged from the hospital on the same day of surgery. Ankle arthroscopy is done for treatment and surgical evaluation of various medical conditions associated with the ankle. The recovery time in arthroscopic surgery is much less than in traditional open surgery.
What are Benefits of Ankle Arthroscopy?
- Helps in treating:
- Joint pain
- Joint impingement
- Ankle Instability
- Plantar fasciitis
- Small Incisions
- Less Soft tissue trauma
- Less pain
- Less Healing time
- Low Infection rate
- Less Scarring
- Reduced Hospitalization time
- Increased recovery time
Who needs Ankle Arthroscopy?
- You may require this surgery if you have any debris in your ankle. Generally, debris in the ankle may come from a torn cartilage or a bone chip.
- If a severely sprained ankle causes ligament damage, your surgeon may advise you to go for arthroscopy to evaluate the extent of damage caused and repair it. It also helps to cure scar tissues formed after injury.
- Ankle Arthroscopy is preferred over traditional open surgery because it causes less scar, ensures speedier recovery, and significantly fewer complications than open surgery.
- Arthroscopy can be used to reduce pain and improve mobility in patients with arthritis.
How is Ankle Arthroscopy Performed?
- The surgeon may mark up the leg on which the surgery is about to be performed.
- The nurse shifts the patient to the operating room.
- A precise dose of anaesthesia is given to the patient before the operation.
- The surgeon may use a specific device to stretch the ankle joint. It makes it easier for the doctor to see inside the joint.
- Two minor cuts are made near the joint. Then the surgeon inserts an arthroscope through this incision.
- The arthroscope is attached to a screen that shows the images in the operation room. It assists the surgeon to view inside the joint and guides the surgeon in finding the traces of debris.
- Then the surgeon may inspect all the joint tissues, including cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and bones.
- The doctor repairs any damaged tissues present there.
- The surgeon may make one to three more incisions. Then they insert other instruments through them.
- Any tearings present in tissues are fixed, and the damaged tissues are removed.
- Incisions are closed using stitches and covered with a bandage.
What to Expect before Ankle Arthroscopy?
- Before having ankle arthroscopy, be sure to inform your doctor about the medicines, vitamins or any supplements that you are taking.
- Do not drink or eat anything the night before ankle arthroscopy unless the surgeon has told you to.
- They may provide you with some soapy sponge to rub over the leg before going to the operation theatre.
- The surgeon may ask you to stop taking any blood thinners.
- Discuss with your surgeon if you have diabetes, a heart condition, or other medical conditions.
- If you are drinking a lot of alcohol, you should discuss it with the surgeon before the surgery. The surgeon may ask you to stop consuming alcohol and smoking a few weeks before the surgery as they may result in delayed recovery.
What to Expect on the Day of Ankle arthroscopy?
- The team will ask you to arrive at the hospital 2 hours before the scheduled surgery.
- A qualified nurse will help you to prepare for surgery. In addition, they will discuss your medical history with you to minimise the chances of error in documentation.
- You have to change your clothes and wear a gown provided by the hospital.
- A nurse will remind you to remove your valuables like jewellery, ring, bracelet, and other wearables.
- Then a nurse will check your heart rate, body temperature and blood pressure before the start of surgery.
- Then after placing an intravenous line on the arm of the patient, you will be wheeled into the operation theatre on a stretcher.
What to Expect during Ankle Arthroscopy?
- You will be brought to the operation theatre on a wheeled stretcher.
- An anesthesiologist will then give you a precise dose of anaesthesia.
- A tube may be placed into your throat to assist breathing during the procedure.
- Once you are asleep due to anaesthesia, a small cut is made on your ankle.
- The doctor inserts small tubes to place camera tubes and instruments in the incision.
- After placing the above tools, the doctors will start with the procedure.
- After finishing the procedure, the doctor closes the incisions and then it is closed using stitches and covered with a bandage.
What to Expect After Ankle Arthroscopy?
- You will come out from the effect of anaesthesia in a recovery room.
- A nurse will be present there to monitor your heart rate and blood pressure.
- The nurse may ask you to take a deep breath to clear your lungs.
- You will stay in the recovery room till your vitals, such as blood pressure and heart rate, stabilise.
- The doctor will provide medicines to relieve pain.
- You may be advised to rest, ice, compress and elevate (RICE) for several days.
- The doctor may ask you to avoid work for 1-4 weeks if it is a sitting job and at least 2-4 months if the job is physically demanding.
First follow-up appointment
The doctor may advise you to visit the hospital for the follow-up within 10-15 days after the procedure. During the procedure, the doctor will assess your wound to check for any sign of infection. Further, the doctor will reduce the medications based on your symptoms, such as pain. The doctor may also change your dressing and advise you about the activities you can do during your recovery period.
When to Consult a Doctor?
You should immediately consult a doctor if you have started experiencing any of the following signs and symptoms.
- Redness and swelling in the leg
- Smelly fluid oozing from the wound
- Increase in pain for more than two days after surgery
- Redstreak from the incision
- Pus draining from the wound