In the past, many commonly performed foot and ankle surgical procedures required extensive incisions to allow for exposure of the injury and necessary surgical treatment. With the improvement in technology and surgical techniques, many of these procedures can now be performed arthroscopically.
Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that allows access to the joints of the body through small portals for diagnosis and treatment. These incisions make the joints accessible for the placement of cameras and instruments. The procedure is similar to tendoscopy, which is used for the evaluation of the tendons of the foot and ankle.
The ankle joint and subtalar joint, which is the joint under the ankle joint, as well as other joints of the foot and ankle can be evaluated using small poke hole incisions in the skin to allow for the placement of a small camera. A separate poke hole is used to place instruments into the joint and treat the abnormality present.
Many common ankle problems can be diagnosed and treated using arthroscopy, including osteochondral lesions (or cartilage chip fractures), and soft tissue scarring. The procedure allows for a full evaluation of the joint to ensure appropriate alignment as well as treatment of fractures of the foot and ankle, removal of loose bodies and fragments, and ankle arthrodesis (fusion of the ankle joint).
Depending on the type of injury or condition, the procedure is often performed under a regional anesthetic, which numbs the leg, and twilight anesthesia. From there, a small incision (about the size of a buttonhole) will be made so the doctor can insert the arthroscope. Depending on the injury, several other incisions may be made to see other parts of the joint or to insert other instruments.
While arthroscopy was initially used as a diagnostic tool for planning standard open surgery, the development of better instrumentation and surgical techniques has allowed doctors to treat many different conditions arthroscopically. After the surgery is complete, your incision will be covered with a dressing and you will be given instructions on how to care for your incisions.
Less invasive surgeries have obvious benefits to the patient. Most patients can walk immediately after surgery, while others do require a non-weight-bearing period to allow the bone or condition being treated to heal appropriately. The pain associated with this type of procedure is generally minimal, allowing patients to return to their daily activities relatively quickly. Sometimes, a rehabilitation program will be suggested to help quicken the recovery period and protect future joint function.
Whenever possible, Dr. Vora prefers utilizing minimally invasive techniques for a speedy recovery, allowing patients to get back on their feet as quickly as possible. For more information about arthroscopy or to schedule an appointment at one of our office locations, please contact us today.
For more information on these treatments please see:
What are the most common types of ankle ligament surgeries?
As explained by Dr. Anand Vora.
Ankle ligament surgeries are extremely common. Although the great majority of patients that sprain their ankle will get better with conservative treatment, at least 10 to 15 percent of patients will have continued pain or symptoms after a severe ankle sprain that doesn’t get better. Because of the sheer number of ankle sprains that occur, we end up seeing a lot of patients that have chronic problems with their ankle ligaments after an ankle injury. The most common ankle ligament injuries are the ligaments on the outside of the ankle, and of those, the most common is referred to as the anterior talofibular ligament. The ligament provides some structural stability to the outside of the ankle and when it stretches out it, generally speaking, will stretch out like a rubber band and therefore loses its normal elasticity, so the ankle becomes unstable. So what we do for that is a surgical reconstruction to tighten up the ligament. One thing in particular that our practice does is augment that repair with a special type of suture device that allows for additional stability. The advantage of that is shown by using this augmentation type of special repair, we can cut the recovery almost in half as compared to traditional lateral ankle ligament surgery procedures.