This page describes the procedure of ankle arthroscopy as performed by Mr Bowyer. Other surgeons may use variations on the technique, for instance with regard to post-operative management. It is important that you understand what your own operating surgeon intends to do, and how you will be treated after the procedure.
Many operations can now be performed through “key-hole” incisions. This is called an Arthroscopy. Arthroscopies have advantages over conventional surgery, as many of the possible risks of complications are lessened, and recovery is far quicker.
Ankle arthroscopy is performed under a general anaesthetic often as a day case, or with a stay over night.
Once you are asleep a small telescope (camera) is inserted into the ankle through a small incision at the front of the ankle. This allows the surgeon to see inside your ankle, and be able to carry out the necessary procedure. The instruments needed for the surgery will be inserted through a second small incision. These incisions are only about 1cm, and once healed often fade until they are barely visible.
Typical pictures of the inside of the ankle, showing the inflammation and scarring that can typically be dealt with in this way, are shown below. The surgeon will show you pictures of your own ankle after the procedure.
After your surgery you will have a bandage on your ankle. You will be seen by a physiotherapist who will advise you on any specific exercises you should be doing. You will probably have to initially walk using crutches.
The incisions may have a small stitch, which will usually be removed after about ten days. The wounds should be kept dry for approximately 2 weeks, so ensure you cover them when you shower. You will usually have a follow up appointment, and at this time you will be advised on what activities you are allowed to return to and if necessary you may be referred to a physiotherapist to help with further rehabilitation and return to function and activity.
The procedure itself is safe with a high rate of success and low complication risks, however there are risks of:
- Some people get local nerve damage, making the overlying skin numb
- Anaesthetic risks
- Blood clots following surgery
Notify a doctor if following your arthroscopy you experience any of the following:
- Pus or weepy incisions
- Redness of the skin around the incisions
- Increasing pain more than 2 days after the surgery
- Fever or feeling unwell
- Pain or swelling in the leg, more than at the incision sites