Ankle Arthroscopy (also called arthroscopic surgery) is a minimally invasive surgical procedure in which an examination and sometimes treatment of damage of the interior of the ankle is performed using an arthroscope, a type of endoscope that is inserted into the joint through a small incision. Arthroscopic procedures can be performed either to evaluate or to treat many orthopedic conditions affecting the ankle, including torn or floating cartilage, torn surface cartilage, tendon reconstruction and trimming damaged cartilage.
The advantage of arthroscopy over traditional open surgery is that the joint does not have to be opened up fully. Instead, for ankle arthroscopy for example, only two small incisions are made — one for the arthroscope and one for the surgical instruments to be used in the ankle cavity. This reduces recovery time and may increase the rate of surgical success due to less trauma to the connective tissue. It is especially useful for professional athletes, who require a faster healing time. There is also less scarring, because of the smaller incisions. Irrigation fluid is used to distend the joint and make a surgical space.
The surgical instruments used are smaller than traditional instruments. The joint area is viewed on a video monitor to facilitate the diagnosis and repair of torn joint tissue, such as ligaments and menisci or cartilage.