ARTHROSCOPIC ANKLE CARTILAGE REPAIR
What is Arthroscopic ankle cartilage repair?
Arthroscopes are tools used for minimally invasive joint surgeries. Small incisions are made on each side of the front of the ankle and the joint is inflated with sterile saline solution so that the structures of the joint can be inspected with a tiny camera. The entire joint will be inspected for damage such as fraying tissues, torn tissues, bone spurs, debris, and damage to the cartilage. Bone spurs will be ground away, frayed tissue will be trimmed backed and burned with a radio frequency tool so that it will heal cleanly. Debris in the joint will be evacuated with a suction tool or be flushed out with the steady flow of saline solution used to inflate the joint. Damage cartilage will be cut away and the site will be prepared for a cartilage graft of donor tissue. After the tissue has been placed and the joint has been repaired the tools are removed and the wound is closed.
Why would I need Arthroscopic Ankle Cartilage repair?
When we move our bones hold most of the weight we carry. Between bones in joints there is cartilage to cushion the bones from damaging themselves. When cartilage is damaged the bones rub and pound into each other in a painful feedback cycle that leads to more cartilage loss. Bones when they are damaged try to heal and can form bumps of bony growth, we call bone spurs. These bone spurs grind on the remaining cartilage and the cycle continues until the joint is destroyed over time. In addition to the pain and joint degradation the body will try to immobilize the joint with swelling. As a physician the goal of treating this cartilage damage, called osteoarthritis, is to slow the progression of degradation and keep the patient mobile with minimal pain. If a joint is too far gone then the last result is to fuse the joint or replace the joint. In the case of the ankle, an arthroscopic cartilage repair can potentially salvage the joint before it is too far gone.