Professor Kenji Takagi in 1917 was the first doctor to use arthroscopy as a tool to evaluate and treat knee conditions. Since then the use of arthroscopy has advanced significantly and is a very common tool in our arsenal to treat our patients.
Ankle joints are the most commonly explored joint in the foot and ankle utilizing an arthroscope. Two 1-2 cm incisions are made on the anterior ankle and the arthroscope is advanced in the ankle joint and live images are seen on an overhead tv screen. Using the other incision we advance a debrider or any other tool that we need at that time.
Ankle arthroscopy gives us the opportunity to diagnose and treat many conditions at the same time.
Subtalar joint is another example where arthroscopy is utilized to diagnose and treat different conditions. Ankle and Subtalar joint arthrodesis can be performed using arthroscopy in certain patient populations. Osteochondral defects of the talus are also often diagnosed and treated using ankle arthroscopy. Ankle ligament repair can also be achieved using ankle arthroscopy.
Other smaller joints such as the big toe joint and peroneal tendons can also be visualized using arthroscopy. Newer research has shown that the use of arthroscopy in acute trauma such as ankle fractures, can help directly visualize the ankle syndesmosis and confirm adequate reduction as well once the ankle fracture is repaired.
Recovery varies depending on the procedure performed but since there are only two or three small incisions, there is limited damage to the natural anatomy and soft tissue. Minimal scar tissue formation occurs when using arthroscopy. Recovery times are also shorter due to the minimally invasive nature of this procedure. Below is a video of an ankle scope by one of our surgeons assessing and debriding synovitis causing chronic pain and impingement
Foot and Ankle arthroscopy is a procedure preformed in the OR, under general anesthesia and outpatient. Contact us to see if this is a good open for your joint pain.