What is an arthroscopy of the ankle?

An arthroscopy (also called keyhole surgery) allows your surgeon to see inside your ankle using a camera inserted through small cuts in the skin. Your surgeon can diagnose problems such as damage to the joint surface or ligaments and arthritis.

The aim of keyhole surgery is to confirm exactly what the problem is and in many cases to treat the problem at the same time. The main benefit of an ankle arthroscopy is less pain afterwards and a quicker recovery.

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

Problems inside the ankle can often be diagnosed using a MRI scan. However, you may then need an arthroscopy to treat the problem.

What does the operation involve?

The operation usually takes 30 to 45 minutes. A variety of anaesthetic techniques is possible. 

Your surgeon will insert a camera through small cuts around your ankle and will examine the inside of your ankle for damage to the joint surfaces and ligaments. They will wash out any loose material caused by wear of the joint surfaces and remove any spurs of bone or swelling of the lining of your ankle joint.

If you have torn your ankle ligaments, you may need a reconstruction operation.

What complications can happen?

Complications of anaesthesia

  • Your anaesthetist will be able to discuss with you the possible complications of having an anaesthetic.

General complications

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection of the surgical site (wound)
  • Unsightly scarring of your skin
  • Blood clots
  • Difficulty passing urine

Specific complications

  • Damage to nerves around the ankle
  • Compartment syndrome, where the calf muscles swell and get tight
  • Infection in the ankle joint
  • Severe pain, stiffness and loss of use of the ankle (complex regional pain syndrome)

Outstanding services for all patients

Get referred to Horder Healthcare today

Horder Healthcare provides the highest quality services to NHS, privately insured and self pay patients, from initial consultation and diagnostic tests right through to surgical treatment and rehabilitation.

We are a charity

We reinvest our profit to benefit more people and help us achieve our aim of advancing health.