Foot and Ankle Arthroscopy

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.

What is Arthroscopy?

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.

How Arthroscopy is Used to Diagnose and Treat Foot and Ankle Conditions

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).

How is Arthroscopy Performed?

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.

Benefits of Arthroscopy

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.

Arthroscopy for Foot and Ankle Conditions Near Chicago

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.

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