11th January 2009
Arthroscopy or key hole surgery involves the use of fibre optic cameras and very small surgical tools.
In many cases this can be carried out as day case surgery.
As part of the procedure, the joint is distracted (separated) to allow for full access to the whole of the joint both back and front. Saline fluid is filtered through the joint to allow for easy manoeuvring of instruments and inspection of the joint.
Small incisions are made around the ankle to allow for access to the joint. The structures of the ankle can be examined from the “live” pictures produced from the fibre optic camera including bones, ligaments and tendons.
Arthroscopy procedures are generally less invasive than traditional “open” surgery. Trauma to the tissues is less when undertaking an arthroscopy.
There is less scarring, fewer complications and in many cases a quicker recovery.
Many different conditions affecting the ankle can be treated surgically by arthroscopy, for example:
Examination of the ankle – sometimes this can help aid in diagnosis by examining all the structures of the ankle to note any abnormalities.
Ligament repair, cyst decompression – damage to ligaments and development of cysts within the joint can occur following injury or trauma.
Removal of extra bony spurs (osteophytes) – debridement of osteophytes can be the result of injury or arthritis.
Joint fusion – fusion of the ankle results in a loss of movement however will remove severe pain from an arthritic joint. This procedure still requires a long period of time immobilised to allow bones to fuse however there is less trauma to the surrounding tissues than when this procedure is undertaken by traditional open surgery.