Ankle Arthroscopy (Scope)
MEDICAL ANIMATION TRANSCRIPT: An ankle scope procedure, also known as ankle arthroscopy, can be used to treat conditions that cause pain or decreased flexibility of the ankle joint. The ankle is the joint that connects the leg and the foot. The ankle joint includes the two lower leg bones, called the tibia and the fibula, and the ankle bone, called the talus. Together, the ends of the tibia and fibula create a mortise, or slot, for the talus. Tissues called ligaments and tendons support the ankle bones. Ligaments attach bones to bones. And tendons attach muscles to bones. The ankle joint allows the foot to move up and down. Articular cartilage on the ends of bones is a smooth gliding covering that allows fluid joint movement. A variety of conditions can cause pain or decreased flexibility of the ankle joint. Abnormal bone growths called bone spurs may have formed, impinging on the ankle joint as it moves. Ligaments may be damaged either from overuse or from ankle injuries such as sprains. Old ankle injuries may stretch the ligaments, allowing abnormal movement of the ankle joint. This can lead to more rapid degenerative changes in the joint. Cartilage may be damaged or worn thin due to prior ankle injury or osteoarthritis. Small pieces of cartilage may have detached from the underlying bone and may be floating in the joint. The joint space may be infected, usually from bacteria. To treat these and other conditions, a surgeon may perform an ankle scope. The surgeon will begin by making several tiny incisions or portals in the ankle. A small tube called a cannula will be placed into one of the incisions. A scope will be passed through the cannula to allow the surgeon to see inside the joint area. The scope contains a tiny camera that will project the image of the ankle joint onto a TV monitor for the surgeon to watch. A sterile saline solution will be pumped through the scope cannula to expand the area so the surgeon can see better and have more area in which to work. The surgeon will insert surgical instruments through the other incision to do one or more of the following treatments. A bone spur will be removed or burred down. Excess tissue will be removed from a thick scarred ligament. Loose pieces of cartilage floating in the joint will be removed. Infection in the ankle joint will be cleaned out by washing the joint with fluid. If a person has damaged cartilage or bone from arthritis, ankle fusion will be performed. During an ankle fusion, damaged cartilage and bone will be removed. The bones will be attached to each other with screws. This will lock the ankle joint in one position, while other joints in the foot will continue to allow limited movement. Once the treatment is finished, the sterile saline will be drained out of the joint. The instruments will be removed and the incisions will be closed with stitches.