In years past, open ankle surgery was your only option for treating problems with this delicate joint. However, if you are struggling with ankle issues, the team at OrthoBethesda in Bethesda, Maryland, has a minimally invasive surgical option that is less painful, has fewer complications and provides a shorter recovery time: ankle arthroscopy surgery.
Whether you're struggling with arthritis or another type of ankle complication, our team will provide a full examination to determine the underlying issue and decide if ankle arthroscopy is the best choice for you.
What Is Ankle Arthroscopy?
At OrthoBethesda, we use arthroscopy to treat a variety of joint issues, including those involving the ankle. Also called keyhole surgery, ankle arthroscopy is a less invasive procedure utilizing an arthroscope, which is a flexible tube with a video camera and light attached at the and. This small tool can be inserted into the ankle joint to both diagnose and treat any issues we discover.
The arthroscope's camera projects images onto a large monitor, which your surgeon uses to look for damage to your ankle, determine the type and extent of the injury and repair any problems.
Conditions Treated By Ankle Arthroscopy
When you come to OrthoBethesa with ankle complaints, we generally begin with conservative treatment options, including medication, physical therapy or injections. However, if pain or mobility issues continue, ankle arthroscopy has proven to be a highly effective means of managing a variety of ankle disorders. Some of the conditions we treat using ankle arthroscopy include:
- Arthritis of the ankle
- Unstable ankle
- Ankle fracture
- Osteochondral defects of the talus
Ankle arthroscopy can also be used to treat undiagnosed ankle pain, as the procedure allows us to both explore and fix any issues we discover during the surgery.
Your Ankle Arthroscopy Procedure
If you and your OrthoBethesda surgeon decide to move forward with ankle arthroscopy, we will ensure you fully understand what the procedure entails ahead of time.
- Two to three small incisions made around the joint give your surgeon access to the ankle.
- The arthroscope is inserted through one of these incisions.
- Your doctor will pump a sterile solution into the joint, expanding the area and creating more room for them to work.
- Using the images displayed on the large monitor, your surgeon can visualize the joint and determine the extent of damage that needs to be surgically treated.
- Small surgical tools are inserted through the incisions to treat any problems.
- Once the procedure is complete, the incision is closed and covered with a bandage.
Recovery After Ankle Arthroscopy Surgery
After your surgery, you'll be taken to recovery. Your ankle will be immobilized using a splint or cast during your recovery period. The duration of this time varies depending on the type of repair the surgeon performed.
As you heal, be sure to keep the surgical site clean and dry. Your doctor will prescribe you pain medication to help you manage any discomfort you experience. You can also elevate your ankle or apply ice to reduce pain and swelling.
Ankle arthroscopy is relatively safe with a low incidence of complications. As with any surgery, however, there are a few risks you should be aware of, such as damage to nerves or blood vessels, infection, bleeding and compartment syndrome.
Advantages of Ankle Arthroscopy
There are many benefits to ankle arthroscopy, especially when compared to the alternative — open ankle surgery — such as:
- Small incisions versus a large incision
- Shorter hospitalization
- Less scarring
- Minimal trauma to soft tissue
- Less pain
- Faster recovery time
- Lower risk of infection
- Earlier mobilization
Contact OrthoBethesda to Find Out More About Ankle Arthroscopy
For patients living near Bethesda, MD, we invite you to contact us to find out more about the less invasive ankle and foot arthroscopy surgeries. When you meet with one of our physicians, they can go over your treatment options and ensure this is the best plan of action for your ankle issues. Contact OrthoBethesda today to make an appointment by calling (301) 530-1010.