Foot and Ankle Arthroscopic Surgery

What is Foot and Ankle Arthroscopic Surgery?

Foot and ankle arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure in which an arthroscope, a small, soft, flexible tube with a light and video camera at the end, is inserted into the foot or ankle joint to evaluate and treat a variety of conditions.

An arthroscope is a small, fiber-optic instrument consisting of a lens, light source, and video camera. The camera projects an image of the inside of the joint onto a large screen monitor allowing the surgeon to look for any damage, assess the type of injury, and repair the problem.

What are the Indications for Foot and Ankle Arthroscopy?

Foot and ankle arthroscopy, also referred to as keyhole surgery or minimally invasive surgery, has proven to be highly effective in managing various foot and ankle disorders including arthritis, ankle instability, fractures, osteochondral defects of the talus, infection and undiagnosed pain.

What are the Benefits of Foot and Ankle Arthroscopy?

The benefits of arthroscopy compared to the alternative, open ankle surgery, include:

  • Smaller incisions
  • Minimal soft tissue trauma
  • Less pain
  • Faster healing time
  • Lower infection rate
  • Less scarring
  • Earlier mobilization
  • Shorter hospital stay

How is an Foot and Ankle Arthroscopy Procedure Performed?

Your surgeon will make 2 or 3 small incisions around the problem area. Through one of the incisions, an arthroscope is inserted. Along with it, a sterile solution is pumped into the joint to expand the area and create room for the surgeon to work.

The larger image displayed on the television monitor allows the surgeon to visualize the joint directly to determine the extent of damage so that it can be surgically treated. Surgical instruments will be inserted through the other tiny incisions to treat the problem.

After the surgery, the instruments are removed, and the incisions are closed and covered with a bandage.

What is the Post-surgical Care for Foot and Ankle Arthroscopy?

After the procedure, you will be taken to a recovery room. The ankle joint will be immobilized with a splint or cast. The nature and duration of immobilization will depend on the type of repair performed and the preference of the surgeon. The surgical site should be kept clean and dry during the healing process. Patients may be prescribed pain medication for the management of pain. Elevation of the foot and ice application helps to reduce pain and swelling. Follow your post-operative instructions for the best outcome.

What are the Risks and Complications of Foot and Ankle Arthroscopy?

Foot and ankle arthroscopy is a safe procedure and the incidence of complications is low. However, as with any surgery, risks and complications can occur. Some associated risks with foot and ankle surgery can include infection, damage to blood vessels or nerves, bleeding, and compartment syndrome.