About Ankle Arthroscopy
Ankle arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that orthopaedic surgeons use to treat problems in the ankle joint. Ankle arthroscopy uses a thin fiber-optic camera (arthroscope) that can magnify and transmit images of the ankle to a video screen
What is arthroscopy used for?
Arthroscopy can be used to diagnose and treat different disorders of the ankle joint. The list of problems that can be treated with this technology is constantly evolving and includes:
1. Ankle arthritis: Ankle fusion is a treatment option appropriate for many patients with end-stage ankle arthritis. Ankle arthroscopy offers a minimally invasive way to perform ankle fusion. Results can be equal to or better than open techniques.
2. Ankle fractures: Ankle arthroscopy may be used along with open techniques of fracture repair. This can help to ensure normal alignment of bone and cartilage. It may also be used during ankle fracture repair to look for cartilage injuries inside the ankle.
3. Ankle instability: Ligaments of the ankle can become stretched out, which can lead to a feeling that the ankle gives way. These ligaments can be tightened with surgery. Arthroscopic techniques may be an option for this problem.
Arthrofibrosis: Scar tissue can form within the ankle. This can lead to a painful and stiff joint. This is known as arthrofibrosis. Ankle arthroscopy can be used to identify the scar tissue and remove it.
4. Infection: Infection the joint space cannot be treated with antibiotics alone. It often requires an urgent surgery to wash out the joint. This can be done with arthroscopy.
5. Loose bodies: Cartilage, bone and scar tissue can become free floating in the joint and form what is referred to as loose bodies. Loose bodies can be painful and can cause problems such as clicking and catching. Locking of the ankle joint may occur. Ankle arthroscopy can be used to find and remove the loose bodies.
6. Osteochondral defect (OCD): These are areas of damaged cartilage and bone in the ankle joint. OCDs are usually caused by injuries to the ankle such as fractures and sprains. Common symptoms include ankle pain and swelling. Patients may complain of catching or clicking in the ankle. The diagnosis is made with a combination of a physical exam and imaging studies. Imaging may include X-rays, MRI or CT scan. The treatment is based on the size, location and stability of the OCD. The patient's symptoms and activity demands are also considered. Surgery often consists of scraping away the damaged cartilage and drilling small holes in the bone to promote healing. Bone grafting and cartilage transplant procedures can also be performed.