Arthroscopy is a surgical procedure during which the internal structure of a joint is examined for diagnosis and treatment of problems inside the joint. Ankle arthroscopy includes the diagnosis and treatment of ankle conditions. In arthroscopic examination, a small incision is made in the patient’s skin through which pencil-sized instruments that have a small lens and lighting system (arthroscope) are passed. Arthroscope magnifies and illuminates the structures of the joint with the light that is transmitted through fibre optics. It is attached to a television camera and the interior of the joint is seen on the television monitor.
Arthroscopic examination of ankle joint is helpful in diagnosis and treatment of the following conditions:
- Inflammation: Synovitis, the inflammation of the lining of the ankle joint
- Acute or chronic injury
- Osteoarthritis: A type of arthritis caused by cartilage loss in a joint
During arthroscopic ankle surgery, either a general or local anesthesia will be given depending on the condition. A small incision of the size of a buttonhole is made through which the arthroscope is inserted. Other accessory incisions will be made through which specially designed instruments are inserted. After the procedure is completed arthroscope is removed and incisions are closed. You may be instructed about the incision care, activities to be avoided and exercises to be performed for faster recovery.
Some of the conditions treated by ankle arthroscopy include:
- Achilles tendon rupture
- Bunion surgery
- Sports injuries
- Toe deformities
Some of the possible complications after arthroscopy include infection, phlebitis (clotting of blood in vein), excessive swelling, bleeding, blood vessel or nerve damage and instrument breakage.
It may take several weeks for the puncture wounds to heal and the joint to recover completely. A rehabilitation program may be advised for a speedy recovery of normal joint function. Your child can resume normal activities and go back to school within a few days.