Foot and Ankle
Ankle Cartilage Repair Arthroscopy
This minimally invasive procedure is used to repair damaged cartilage in the ankle joint.
It is first necessary to expand the joint, which is done by making small incisions on each side of the front of the ankle. Once done, fluid is injected into the joint. This expands the joint, giving the surgeon a clear view and room to work. One or two additional incisions may be necessary.
The surgeon inserts an arthroscope, which has a fiber optic light and small television camera. With the video images as a guide, the surgeon identifies the damaged area, and with special tools, the damaged cartilage is removed. The surgeon may drill the exposed bone to create bleeding. When the blood clots, it will eventually turn into repaired cartilage.
Repaired cartilage is not as good as the original, but it helps keep movement smooth within the joint. After the instruments are removed, the surgeon may close the incisions with stitches or tape. Recovery from arthroscopy usually is faster than recovery from traditional open surgery.
Following surgery, the joint may be sore and swollen for four to six weeks. Depending on the extent of the injury and treatment, patients may be allowed to stand with crutches, to wear a walking cast or splint, or to keep off their feet for several weeks.