Frisco & Dallas Ankle Arthroscopy Surgery
Arthroscopic Ankle Surgery
Your ankles support a great deal of your body weight and are a huge factor in keeping you active and moving properly. Pain or damage to the ankles can seriously inhibit your ability to complete everyday tasks, let alone participate in the sports you love. If you suffer from ankle pain and other treatments have failed to provide relief, it may be time for ankle arthroscopy surgery. For the area’s leading arthroscopic ankle surgeon, contact SPORT today. Our Dallas orthopedic specialists will let you know which surgical approach is best for you and explain the procedure in detail. To schedule an appointment, call (469) 200-2832 or use our convenient online form.
What Is Ankle Arthroscopy?
An ankle arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that aims to correct problems arising in the ankle joint. You may also hear an ankle arthroscopy referred to as a “keyhole surgery.” This is because an ankle arthroscopy procedure requires two to three miniscule incisions into the skin that enables the surgeon to examine and treat the ankle joint.
The surgical procedure uses what is called an arthroscope, which is a small fiber-optic camera that enables the surgeon to magnify images of the internal ankle onto a larger monitor. This camera allows the surgeon to examine the joint and perform whatever surgery is necessary, including removing pieces of bone or cartilage or otherwise addressing the patient’s specific problem.
Ankle arthroscopy is a viable alternative to open ankle surgery when there is not extensive damage to the area. It generally results in less scar tissue, involves only small incisions, has fewer complications, and can be done as an outpatient surgery. Open surgery is often more painful with a longer recovery period.
What Happens in an Ankle Arthroscopy?
Patients undergoing ankle arthroscopy performed by orthopedic surgeons will usually be put under general anesthesia. That means the patients are asleep and cannot feel the pain. However, some patients have regional anesthesia, which numbs the area around the foot and ankle.
To begin the procedure, your surgeon will make small incisions through which they will insert the arthroscope (tiny camera) and the surgical tools. The surgeon watches the video feed of the inside of your ankle on a monitor in the operating room. Then, they begin to inspect the soft tissue lining, tendons, bones, and ligaments around the ankle joint.
Once they identify the problem area, the surgeon will repair the damaged soft tissue, perform ankle fusion, or continue with whichever surgery is necessary. If there is any damaged tissue in the area, such as thick scar tissue, they will remove it. When your surgeon is finished, they will close the incisions and bandage the wound.
How Painful Is Arthroscopic Ankle Surgery?
Most surgeries will involve some degree of pain, but ankle arthroscopy offers a less painful alternative to open surgery. After your surgery, you will likely feel some degree of pain and swelling. We recommend taking an oral pain medication to mitigate the pain, keeping your ankle elevated, and using a cold pack to reduce swelling. Depending on the patient and what your surgeon did during the surgery, you may be able to walk immediately after the surgery, or you may need a couple of months to recover fully.
How Long Does Ankle Arthroscopy Surgery Take?
Frisco and Dallas ankle arthroscopy surgery is typically performed as a day-case procedure, meaning patients can return home on the same day. It is most often performed under general anesthesia, but may also use spinal blocks to numb or “freeze” the targeted area. The surgery itself generally only lasts between 30 minutes to 90 minutes.
How Long Is Recovery From Ankle Arthroscopy?
An ankle arthroscopy is most often performed as a day-case procedure. This allows patients to return home the same day of surgery. Patients can expect some pain and swelling in the ankle following surgery. Medication, including painkillers and antibiotics, will be administered to the patient. Pain and discomfort generally only lasts for the first few days after surgery and will gradually diminish over time.
The ankle will need to remain bandaged for about two weeks post-op. (Depending on the type of injury and extent of the surgery, patients may need a hard cast during this time.) Crutches will also likely be necessary for the first few days. It is also recommended that patients keep their ankle elevated above their heart while resting in the days after surgery.
The operating orthopedic surgeon will determine when the patient can return to certain physical activities. After surgery, most people are able to return to work after one to two weeks of healing time. It is possible for those who have had an ankle arthroscopy to get back into high-level sports, but they should expect at least four more weeks before returning to such activity.
How Soon Can You Start Physical Therapy After Ankle Arthroscopy?
When a person can begin physical therapy in Dallas following an ankle arthroscopy depends on the individual circumstances of the procedure. However, one might generally expect to begin therapy about two weeks following the surgery.
Risks and Complications from Ankle Arthroscopy
Due to the nature of surgery itself, all surgeries have some degree of risk. Although complications are rare, especially for arthroscopic surgeries, it is important to understand them before you go under the knife. The main risks of ankle arthroscopy include the following.
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Blood clot
- Pus draining from the wound
- Anesthesia complications
- Nerve damage
What Conditions Does Ankle Arthroscopy Treat?
Overall, ankle arthroscopies are beneficial in reducing ankle pain and improving the overall function and movement of the ankle joint. An ankle arthroscopy can both diagnose and treat a number of conditions. Some of these conditions include the following:
- Arthritis of the ankle
- Anterior ankle impingement
- Posterior ankle impingement
- Bone spurs
- Ankle fusion
- Loose bone fragments and/or cartilage
- Cartilage defects and cartilage injuries
- Fracture repair
- Damaged tendons or ligaments
- Athlete’s ankle
- Ankle sprain
- Ankle instability
The number and types of conditions that ankle arthroscopies treat are constantly growing and evolving. In addition to the aforementioned conditions, an arthroscopy procedure can also treat unexplained ankle symptoms. Because it uses a microscopic camera, orthopedic surgeons are able to get an up close and personal look at what exactly is going on within a patient’s ankle. So even without a formal diagnosis beforehand, an ankle arthroscopy may help in determining the problem and subsequently treating it.
How Long After Ankle Arthroscopy Can I Drive?
When a patient is able to drive again following arthroscopic ankle surgery depends on their individual circumstances and the recommendations of their orthopedic surgeon. Most ankle arthroscopy patients are cleared to drive whenever they can comfortably bear weight without limitation and are no longer taking prescription pain medications.
Is Arthroscopic Ankle Surgery a Major Surgery?
Arthroscopic surgery would not typically be classified as a “major” surgery due to its non-intrusive nature and the fact that it does not involve any major organs. Because the procedure is significantly less invasive than a general surgical procedure, it results in less scarring, quicker healing and rehabilitation, and a reduced risk of infection, among many other benefits. However, while arthroscopic ankle surgery is minimally invasive, it is still a surgery at the end of the day, and with surgery comes the risk for certain complications. A small surgery such as ankle arthroscopy reduces the chance of infection and many other complications, but cannot eliminate them completely. Some possible risks associated with this surgery may include the following:
- Problems with anesthesia
- Damage to nerves and/or blood vessels
- Blood clots
Though certain risks are always present with any surgery, the benefits of an arthroscopic ankle surgery tend to outweigh the risks. In fact, 70 to 90 percent of those who’ve received this surgery for common ankle problems achieve good to even excellent results.
Ankle Arthroscopy in Dallas and Frisco, TX
If you are experiencing ankle pain, a Dallas or Frisco ankle arthroscopy surgery might be a good option to help diagnose and treat your pain. It is a great non-invasive option compared to ankle replacements and other more serious surgeries. Our board-certified, fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons of SPORT Orthopedics + Physical Therapy are experts in ankle arthroscopy procedures. When you visit SPORT, you can be confident in the fact that you will be back on your feet in no time. To schedule an appointment, call (469) 200-2832 or fill out our online intake form today.