Thursday, 26 February 2015

Know All About Ankle Arthroscopy

Ankle arthroscopy refers to a surgical procedure used to treat ankle problems. This minimally invasive procedure employs an arthroscope (thin fiber-optic camera) that magnifies images of the ankle and transmits them to a video screen. The aim of this surgery is to decrease ankle pain and improve overall function.

Conditions and Causes that Require Ankle Arthroscopy

This procedure can be used to identify and treat several disorders of the ankle joint. Some conditions that can be treated with ankle arthroscopy include:-
  • Ankle arthritis
  • Ankle instability
  • Severe fracture or sprain in the ankle
  • Arthrofibrosis
  • Athlete’s ankle
  • Loose bodies (free floating bone, cartilage and scar tissue in the joint)
  • Infection
  • Synovitis (inflammation of the synovial tissue)
  • Infection in the joint
  • Osteochondral defect
At times, patients may develop symptoms in and around the ankle that other diagnostic techniques fail to explain. In such cases, ankle arthroscopy can help the surgeon look directly into the joint to identify the issue and decide on the treatment.

When Do You Require Ankle Arthroscopy?

Ankle arthroscopy is usually recommended for injuries caused by sports activities, accidents and age-related bone conditions. This surgical procedure is performed to diagnose a problem in the ankle or when an ankle injury fails to settle. Those suffering from inflammation and arthritis can get relief when ankle arthroscopy is used to repair damaged tissue and cartilage or remove loose bodies.

Why is ankle arthroscopy better than an open surgery?

Arthroscopy is an advanced option that minimizes post surgery effects and scars. Some of the key benefits due to which ankle arthroscopy is adopted by the patients as well as the doctors include:-
  • Pain levels are significantly lower than open procedure
  • Faster healing of the wound and hence, movement of ankle and physiotherapy can be conducted early on
  • No obvious scars
  • Probability of infections are low
  • Quick return to normal activities
  • Most often, it is a single day procedure including the admission and discharge procedures

Treatment Procedure of Ankle Arthroscopy

  • Before Surgery: The option to undergo an ankle arthroscopy should always be the combined decision of the individual and the surgeon. You need to know about the procedure as much as possible. In case you have questions or concerns, make sure to talk to your surgeon. Once the decision to proceed with the surgery has been taken, your surgeon may recommend going to your regular doctor for a complete physical examination. This exam will help ensure that you are fit to undergo the operation. You may also be advised to talk to the physical therapist who will be managing your post-surgery rehabilitation in order to get a head start on your recuperation. The therapist will examine your present pain levels, capability to do your activities and the strength and movement of each ankle. She/he will also teach you how to walk safely using a walker or crutches as well as teach some exercises that you can do during your recovery.
  • The Actual Procedure of Ankle Arthroscopy: Most often, local anesthesia is administered in the ankle region. However, in some cases, a general anesthesia might be required. Your ankle would be placed on a traction table with an arthroscope, TV screen, and other essential tools set up and connected through portals and tubes to your ankle joints. The actual procedure involves making minimal incisions in the area of injury. The surgeon performs the procedure on completion of which the openings would be closed with stitches. The leg would be elevated throughout and after the procedure to avoid swelling.
  • Post Surgery: You would be given medications for healing and pain relief as the surgeon deems fit. The dressings will be removed within a few hours though the feet would be covered in minimum surgical plasters. Most often, the weight bearing is done on the same day with or without the help of crutches. You may even be allowed to drive or return to your sport within one week, depending on your recovery time.
Today, ankle arthroscopic procedures are adopted even for reconstructive surgeries. No two individuals have the same type of problem or heal the same way. Therefore, it is essential for you to go through all the stages of surgery according to the advice of your general doctor and the surgeon in charge of the procedure.