Recent advances have permitted surgical procedures to be performed inside joints without opening the joints by traditional methods.
With the advent of smaller viewing devices, called the arthroscope, surgeons are now able to view the inside of a joint by direct vision. This may be done to make a diagnosis or more commonly to carry out a surgical procedure. A small telescope, video equipment and small instrument are used.
Commonly performed surgical procedures in the ankle include the removal of excessive scar tissue and loose bodies or fractures from the joint surface.
Patients are normally admitted to hospital on the same day as the surgical procedure. The exact time will be discussed with you prior to the date of your admission. This procedure can be done either as a day-case or an in-patient often with the choice of general or regional anaesthesia. The decision to be a day case or in-patient depends upon the type of surgery recommended and your particular needs as a patient.
The ankle arthroscopy usually takes between 30 to 60 minutes. The surgery is performed in the operating theatre of the hospital.
You will be in the recovery room approximately one or two hours after the surgery depending upon the type of the anaesthesia and then transferred back to the ward prior to discharge.
You will not be able to drive yourself. Please make arrangement for transport home in advance.
Upon discharge, oral medication will be prescribed.
Please keep your foot and ankle elevated above the level of the heart as much as possible after the surgery. Application of a cold pack to the area during the first 48 hours will also help to decrease the amount of pain and swelling you may have.
You may remove the bandages and the surgical dressing at 48 hours post surgery. There will be several small incisions with a suture (stitch) in each. Bandaids should be re-applied covering these incisions after the dressings have been removed.
There is often a sensation of fluid within the joint and this is most commonly reabsorbed.
It is safe to shower 48 hours following the surgery but bathing or soaking should be delayed until the sutures are removed. After showering, please change the dressing. Normal bandaids can be used over each of the small incisions.
Depending on the surgery performed, you may be required to use crutches for one to two weeks post-operatively. If only a soft tissue problem is found, then you will be allowed to weight bear as able and perhaps only require crutches for 1 or 2 days. If bony surgery is performed, it is best to remain on crutches for 10-14 days.
It is important to schedule a post operative visit for 7-10 days after your arthroscopy.
Post operative infection is uncommon with arthroscopy but if it does occur it needs to be treated promptly. If you experience increasing swelling, increasing pain, persistent temperature or have any other concerns please contact the doctor.