Arthoscopy is a procedure where a small video camera attached to a fiberoptic lens is inserted into a joint to allow an orthopedic surgeon to see without making a large incision. Arthroscopy is used to evaluate and treat orthopedic problems in many different joints of the body. The ankle joint is one of the common joints that arthroscopy is used to evaluate and treat problems with this minimally invasive technique.
Ankle arthroscopy has several advantages over an open ankle procedure. The surgery is minimally invasive and has a low complication rate. Dr. Simmons can perform this on an outpatient basis in the office. In contrast to an open ankle technique, arthroscopy allows complete ankle joint visualization and does not result in intraarticular scar tissue formation.
Dr. Simmons uses ankle arthroscopies to perform a wide range of surgical procedures including confirming a diagnosis, removing loose bodies, removing bone spurs, debriding excess inflamed synovial tissue, and fixing fractures of the joint surface.
Arthroscopy is an effective tool for the evaluation and management of pain localized to the ankle or lower ankle joints. Following an ankle sprain, ligamentous scarring can occur within various regions of the ankle joints. Arthroscopy allows precise removal of scar tissue with minimal joint trauma.
Loose fragments of bone, cartilage or ligament can be removed through the small portals in the joint capsule. Damage cartilage can also be removed this way. Dr. Simmons drills small holes through these soft zones in order to promote re-adhesion of the cartilage.
Arthroscopy has also been useful in assisting with the repair of fractures that involve the surfaces of the ankle joint. The arthroscope is used to visualize the fractured joint surface as it is repaired to assure accurate realignment. Arthroscopy has also been used to visualize the joint during removal of the articular cartilage prior to fusion of the ankle joint. A higher rate of fusion has been seen with arthroscopic compared to open fusion techniques.
Ankle arthroscopy can also help diagnose ligament disorders and ankle instability. Soft tissue disorders may explain chronic ankle pain after a severe ankle sprain. One can view torn or detached ligaments through the arthroscope.
Even though Ankle Arthoscopy is a tool Dr. Simmons uses to the treat ankle pain, the results you can expect depend on what is wrong with your ankle, what can be done inside your ankle to improve the problem and your effort at rehabilitation after the surgery.
The degree of joint and soft tissue trauma associated with arthroscopy is no doubt less than open joint techniques, resulting in somewhat faster healing times. Immediate return to walking and sports is not usually possible. The joint is often sore and swollen for four to six weeks after surgery. Aggressive and rapid return to activity can result in a more prolonged recovery time.