Ankle Arthroscopy in Brooklyn
Ankle arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure used to treat a wide range of injuries, disorders and conditions that affect the ankle. Often, a person first realizes there is an issue with their ankle(s) after experiencing some range of pain, stiffness, swelling, or redness after an injury or fall. In some instances, ankle pain appears only after activity, while other times it is caused by something rubbing against the joint. In other cases, symptoms can appear very suddenly or seem correlated to weather/pressure changes.
WHAT DOES ANKLE ARTHROSCOPY TREAT?
Ankle arthroscopy can be used for:
- Removal of loose bone fragments or cartilage
- Fixing fractures of the joint surface
- Treating tendonitis arthritis
- Repairing ankle ligament tears
- Correcting ankle impingement by removing swollen synovial joint linings
- Removal of bone spurs or adhesions (scar tissues) that limit movement and cause pain
- Repairing articular & focal cartilage damage
- Treating posterior ankle pain
- General evaluation of a patient’s ankle pain/confirmation of diagnosis
Many orthopedic patients with ankle injuries or ankle pain will respond well to conservative treatments; rest, ice, over-the-counter pain medication, and physical therapy. However, if these measures fail, further diagnostic testing may determine whether a patient is a good candidate for ankle arthroscopy. To identify the source of ankle pain, your doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms, do a physical examination, and likely order diagnostic testing, such as x-rays or an MRI, if needed to determine the cause of your symptoms.
WHAT IS ANKLE ARTHROSCOPY?
Ankle arthroscopy uses a tiny fiber-optic camera called an arthroscope, and specialized surgical tools to examine or repair the tissues inside or around your ankle. The arthroscope allows the doctor to detect problems and make repairs to your ankle using very small incisions, preventing the larger cuts in skin and tissue that open surgeries require. For most patients, there are many advantages to ankle arthroscopy over traditional surgery. These advantages include:
- Smaller incisions, which mean less scarring and lower rates of infection
- Less pain, stiffness, and discomfort, leading to quicker recovery time
- Earlier mobility post-surgery, and shorter hospital/outpatient facility stay
- Less trauma to tissues, muscles and ligaments
During the ankle arthroscopy procedure, which is usually performed on an outpatient basis at a hospital or surgical facility, either general or regional anesthesia is used to numb the affected area so you’re unable to feel pain. Your ankle joint is very tight and there’s not much space to see or maneuver, so the doctor will typically put your ankle in traction to help increase space in the joint. The surgeon then makes a small incision, about 1cm, and inserts the arthroscope, which is thinner than a pencil, into your ankle through that incision. The scope is connected to a video monitor in the operating room. This allows the surgeon to:
- View the inside of your ankle, clearly and with magnification.
- Inspect all the tissues of your ankle (these tissues include cartilage, bones, tendons, and ligaments).
- Repair any damaged tissues. To do this, your surgeon may make 1-3 more small incisions and insert other instruments through them. A tear in a muscle, tendon, or cartilage is fixed. Any damaged tissue is removed.
After ankle arthroscopy, your incisions are closed and bandaged. You can usually go home the same day, after recovering from anesthesia. Patients should arrange to be driven home after the procedure, and should expect to use crutches or a walker to keep weight off the affected ankle. Your surgeon typically advises the RICE regimen (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) immediately after arthroscopy. The small cuts near the ankle should heal quickly, and you may be able to resume your normal activities in a few days. But, if a lot of tissue in your ankle had to be repaired, it may take several weeks to heal. How quickly you heal, and return to walking, running, and athletic activity, depends on how complicated the surgery is.
The arthroscope can be used to perform quite complicated major reconstructive surgery using very small incisions. Remember that just because the incisions are small on the outside, on the inside there may be a great deal of healing tissue in the ankle joint. If you have had major reconstructive surgery, you should expect full recovery to take several months. You may be shown how to do gentle exercises as you heal. Your doctor may recommend that you see a physical therapist to help you improve your range of motion, keep your pain under control, and regain full use of your ankle.
IS ANKLE ARTHROSCOPY RIGHT FOR YOU?
If you have ankle pain and need a consultation, call us at (718) 873 3174 for an appointment at one of our six convenient locations, or schedule an appointment online using these links.