Diagnostic Ankle Arthroscopy

What is Diagnostic Ankle Arthroscopy?

Arthroscopy is a surgical procedure that orthopedic surgeons use to visualize, diagnose, and treat problems inside a joint. The word arthroscopy comes from two Greek words, “arthro” (joint) and “skopein” (to look). The term literally means “to look within the joint.”  A minimally invasive procedure, diagnostic ankle arthroscopy, involves a few small incisions and the inflation of the joint with sterile liquid.  A light and camera are inserted in one and tools are inserted in the other entry points.  As advances in medical technology progress more conditions can be addressed simultaneously during joint arthroscopy.

Diagnostic Ankle Arthroscopy: The Procedure

In an arthroscopic examination, an orthopedic surgeon makes a small incision in the patient’s skin and then inserts pencil-sized instruments that contain a small lens and lighting system to magnify and illuminate the structures inside the joint. Light is transmitted through fiber optics to the end of the arthroscope that is inserted into the joint. By attaching the arthroscope to a miniature television camera, the surgeon can see the interior of the joint through this very small incision rather than a large incision needed for surgery. The surgeon can determine the amount or type of injury and then repair or correct the problem, if it is necessary.

Advances in Diagnostic Ankle Arthroscopy

Arthroscopic examinations have become more efficient with advances in technology.  Complex repairs can be completed quickly while examining the joint. Frayed tissue is placed under suction and loose pieces are cut away with the same tool.  Loose tissue can be tightened with a radio frequency ablation tool that generates very precise heat.  Bone spurs that are causing damage to the connective tissues and cartilage can be ground down.  All these options are performed while the joint is filled with flowing sterile liquid that helps the doctor see in the joint as well as help irrigate out any debris.  When receiving a joint arthroscopy, the joint can have many of its flaws addressed in a minimally invasive and quick surgical procedure.

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