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Ankle arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that orthopaedic surgeons use to diagnose and treat problems in the ankle joint. It uses a thin fiber-optic camera called an arthroscope, which can magnify and transmit images of the ankle, in real time, to a video screen. By making very small incisions, the orthopaedist can insert the arthroscope into the ankle and view or treat the area.

This procedure is primarily used to diagnose and treat ankle issues. If a surgical procedure is performed as part of the ankle arthroscopy, the purpose could be to relieve pain, restore and maintain function of the ankle and foot, correct a deformity, or make another needed correction.

When arthroscopy is performed, it is usually due to ankle damage that is caused by arthritis versus a one-time traumatic injury.

The orthopaedic surgeon will ask questions about your general health as well as your pain and how it is impacting your ability to function. He will also perform a physical exam to assess the strength, range of motion, and condition of your ankle.

Before performing an ankle arthroscopy, the surgeon may suggest other treatments to help reduce pain and inflammation, such as taking medications, steroid injections, or bracing, in addition to avoiding activities that could make your symptoms worse.

If nonsurgical treatments are not helpful or no longer relieve pain, your surgeon may perform an ankle arthroscopy to better understand the cause of the ankle pain and how best to treat it. Or, he may perform a surgical procedure using arthroscopy.

If patients' have rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis and pain is interfering with daily life—even while at rest—the surgeon may want to perform an ankle arthroscopy to better diagnose the condition or to perform a minimally invasive surgical procedure using ankle arthroscopy.

When arthroscopy is performed at least two tiny incisions are made in the patient's ankle where the arthroscopic camera and any necessary instruments can be inserted. Next, sterile fluid is flowed into the ankle to open up the joint and allow better visibility. Then, the orthopaedic surgeon will exchange the camera and any surgical instruments between the openings, either to perform a surgical procedure or to view the area. At the conclusion of the procedure or evaluation, small sutures are placed on the patient's skin to close it.

Since ankle arthroscopy does not require general anesthesia and is performed on an outpatient basis, patients will be able to go home the day of the arthroscopy. However, during recovery at home, it is important to carefully follow and understand all the guidance the orthopaedic surgeon has provide for the ankle to heal properly.

Recovery time depends on the type of procedure you have. However, regardless of the procedure, with minimally invasive ankle arthroscopy, rehabilitation from arthroscopy surgery can begin sooner and take less time than it would have if you had a traditional open surgery.

Although any medical procedure has some risks, such as a risk of infection or blood clots, ankle arthroscopy is considered very low risk.

Arthroscopic surgery of the ankle often treats the following:

  • Ankle arthritis
  • Ankle fractures
  • Ankle instability
  • Anterior ankle impingement
  • Arthrofibrosis
  • Infection
  • Loose bodies
  • Osteochondral defect (OCD)
  • Posterior ankle impingement
  • Synovitis
  • Unexplained ankle symptoms

Why choose Tidewater Orthopaedics?

If you are considering ankle arthroscopy, you should seek out an orthopaedic surgeon with experience and training in ankle arthroscopy to perform your procedure. This clinician should not only be skilled at performing ankle arthroscopy but also have the ability to accurately assess the extent of your ankle damage and know the best ways to treat it. With years of experience and advanced training devoted to the orthopaedic care of the ankle, our esteemed ankle surgeon at Tidewater Orthopaedics, Dr. Paul Maloof, is the unparalleled expert in accurately diagnosing and effectively treating ankle injuries and conditions.

Dr. Paul Maloof has the knowledge, proficiency, and skill to accurately diagnose and effectively treat your ankle injury or condition so you can get back to your active lifestyle quickly and safely. To consult with our Tidewater Orthopaedics surgeon, please request an appointment online or call (757) 827-2480.