Ankle arthroscopy is a widely used surgery to treat a variety of ankle problems. There are hardly any risks and complications associated with this procedure. Also, you will be able to leave the hospital the very same day after surgery. Most patients make a full recovery in a few months post an ankle arthroscopy.
What exactly is arthroscopic ankle surgery?
Arthroscopic ankle surgery is a minimally invasive surgical procedure used to diagnose and treat a variety of ankle issues. Among the common ankle problems include injuries, infections, inflammatory conditions, arthritis, and unclear (unexplained) ankle symptoms. The ankle arthroscopic procedure is used to examine the ankle joint from the inside with an arthroscope equipped with a small camera. Through small incisions, a doctor can treat joint issues with special instruments. Ankle arthroscopy can effectively help with symptom relief and the range of movement restoration.
Although ankle arthroscopy is a routine procedure, it carries some risks and potential complications. You may be able to receive less invasive treatments; therefore, before undergoing ankle arthroscopy, consider seeking a second opinion on all of the treatment options.
Who carries out ankle arthroscopy?
Ankle arthroscopy is performed by orthopaedic surgeons as well as foot and ankle surgeons. Orthopaedic surgeons are specialists who specialise in the treatment of bone and joint problems. They operate on patients and prescribe medicine. Ankle and foot surgeons are orthopaedic surgeons or podiatrists who specialise in the lower leg, ankle, and foot surgery.
Who is a candidate for ankle arthroscopy?
Ankle arthroscopy is suitable for anyone who has pain in the ankle or any other concerns in the ankle joint that have not been resolved by other treatments. It could also help individuals who are experiencing difficulty in moving due to an issue inside their ankle joint. If non-surgical treatments, such as physiotherapy or steroid injections, have not completely resolved the problems, the doctor will usually recommend arthroscopy.
What is the purpose of ankle arthroscopy?
Ankle arthroscopy is a safe, minimally invasive procedure that can be employed to treat various conditions, which include:
- Instability: Anything inside your ankle joint, such as a deformity in bone, may make it difficult to move or stand securely. During arthroscopy, your surgeon can identify and repair whatever is causing your unsteadiness.
- Impingement: Tissues inside or around your ankle can become inflamed and painful if they are overused. This swelling eventually causes stiffness, making it difficult to move the ankle.
- Removing cartilage, bone, or scar tissue: An injury can damage your cartilage or bone, or loose pieces within your joint may cause pain. During the healing process, the body may form scar tissue within your joint.
- Ligament tear: Ligaments are similar to elastic bands that retain your bones in place. Your ankle will not function properly if a ligament is torn or damaged due to trauma in an accident, or a fall.
- Infections: Ankle joint infections are also known as septic arthritis.
- Degenerative joint diseases: Disorders such as osteoarthritis are characterised by the breakdown of bones and cartilage.
- Synovitis: It is an inflammation of the lining of the joint.
What is the procedure for ankle arthroscopy?
Your ankle arthroscopy may be performed as an outpatient procedure or in a hospital. It is a minimally invasive procedure that necessitates a minimum of two incisions in the ankle. Through the incisions, your surgeon would then introduce an arthroscope and the special instrument. The arthroscope’s tiny camera enables your surgeon to observe your ankle from inside on a video screen. Your surgeon will inspect the joint and restore the damage as needed.
How common is arthroscopic ankle surgery?
Ankle arthroscopic surgery is very widely used, and due to recent technological advances, surgeons can manage more conditions now than ever before.
As surgeons nowadays are carrying out highly complex surgeries with minimally invasive techniques and lesser risks, arthroscopic surgery is gradually becoming a standard practice.
What are the complications and risks of ankle arthroscopy?
Ankle arthroscopy, like all surgeries, has risks and complications. In some cases, complications can be severe and even fatal. Complications can develop during surgery or recovery.
Complications from ankle arthroscopy
Ankle arthroscopy complications are uncommon, but they include:
- Damage to blood vessels
- Breakage of surgical instruments during the surgery
- Damage to the nerves
- Persistent symptoms
- Severe ankle swelling
- Tingling or numbness in your foot and ankle
Additionally, if your original problems aren’t fully resolved, you may require additional surgery.
General risks associated with arthroscopy
Among the general risks of arthroscopy surgery are:
- Anaesthesia reactions, such as allergic reactions and breathing difficulties
- Bleeding, which can result in a shock
- A blood clot that travels to your lungs and leads to a pulmonary embolism
What happens before arthroscopy of the ankle?
You may need to decrease how frequently you are:
- Taking blood thinners: Inform your surgeon about all of your medications, including over-the-counter (OTC) medications and supplements. Blood thinners can be life-threatening both before and after surgery due to their property of preventing blood clots. Your arthroscopic surgeon will advise you on which medications to discontinue and how you should modify your daily dosage.
- Smoking: If you are a smoker or use different forms of tobacco, you should stop approximately four weeks prior to your surgery. Besides your usual health concerns, smoking delays the healing of your surgical wound after surgery.
- Consuming alcohol: Because alcohol thins the blood, it can be dangerous to have it in your system both prior to and after surgery.
- Drinking or eating: Your surgeon will advise you on whether you should avoid drinking or eating anything prior to your ankle arthroscopy. You may need to refrain from eating or drinking anything except water for about 12 hours prior to the surgery.
What happens following an ankle arthroscopy?
Arthroscopic ankle surgery is most often performed as an outpatient procedure, and you will likely return home the very same day.
Your surgeon will discuss your surgery results and advise you on how to recover and heal.
You may be required to do the following:
- Avoid applying pressure or weight on your foot or ankle.
- Elevate your ankle and apply ice to the ankle.
- Maintain the site of your incision covered and clean.
- Take NSAIDs to relieve pain.
- Prefer showers over baths till the incision wound heals. You may also be required to prevent your incision from getting wet.
You will most likely need to wear an ankle splint for a couple of weeks after surgery. Your surgeon will inform you about when to start to move your ankle and when to begin physical therapy.
What are the benefits of ankle arthroscopy?
Ankle arthroscopy is considered one of the minimally invasive procedures available. It enables surgeons to diagnose and repair a wide range of problems with minimum disturbance to your body. Even though your underlying condition is more complicated, your surgeon may only have to make a few tiny cuts to rectify it. As a result, you should have the following experiences:
- Recovery time is usually only a couple of weeks.
- There is lesser pain after arthroscopy than after open surgery.
- Only minor loss of blood and scarring occur.
- In comparison to the more invasive methods of surgery, there is a significantly low risk of complications with arthroscopy.
How long does it take to recover from ankle arthroscopy?
The majority of patients recover from ankle arthroscopy within a couple of months. The recovery time will be determined by the reason for your surgery and the speed with which you reattain your strength, stability, and movement potential.
For the first few weeks post-surgery, you may require crutches or an ankle splint. Following that, you can walk in a boot.
You will also require physical therapy following your arthroscopic surgery. This might include simple stretching and exercising at home. After your surgery, your surgeon will demonstrate how to do them safely. Depending on the complexity of your surgery, you may be required to undergo physical therapy to restore your ankle’s mobility and strength.
Given how fast your ankle heals, you may be able to resume strenuous physical exercise or/and sports in just a few months after surgery.
When will I be able to return to school or work after an ankle arthroscopy?
You will be able to go back to school or work within a few weeks of having an ankle arthroscopy if you can do the schoolwork or job while seated. Inquire with your surgeon about how many days you must wait before returning to doing any activity that may put a strain on the ankle. Your surgeon may advise you to avoid sitting for long periods. You may be required to move around and stretch several times throughout the day.
When should I consult a doctor?
After ankle arthroscopy, it is crucial to keep following up with your doctor and physical therapist. In between appointments, contact your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.
If you have any of the following symptoms, contact your doctor immediately or seek medical attention right away.
- Changes in alertness, like passing out, becoming unresponsive, or becoming confused
- Breathing issues including difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, laboured breathing or wheezing
- Chest pain, tightness, pressure, or palpitations
- Being unable to pee or have a bowel movement
- Leg pain, redness, or inflammation, particularly in the calf, which could indicate a blood clot
- The pain that your pain medication is not controlling
- Your incision has unexpected drainage, redness, pus, or swelling.
A low-grade fever (less than 101° Fahrenheit) is usual for a few days following surgery and is not always indicative of infection; however, you must follow your surgeon’s specific instructions regarding when to visit for a fever
How much does an ankle arthroscopy cost in India?
The arthroscopic ankle surgery cost in India begins at approximately INR 45,000. Ankle arthroscopy costs may vary with hospital and surgical centres and are determined by a variety of factors.
Explore the important factors that influence the overall cost of ankle arthroscopy.
- Diagnostic tests performed for ankle arthroscopy
- Consultation fee
- Type of surgical procedure
- Admission fees
- Patient’s medical condition
- Patient’s age
- Selected location or city
- Hospital room selected
Arthroscopic ankle surgery is an effective and safe surgical procedure that will help you get back on your legs quickly. It is used to address a variety of ankle problems. Even in the most complicated cases, it is more minimally invasive than any other type of surgery. Since it helps so many individuals suffering from mobility or pain issues, it is among the most common surgical treatments used.