Learn about a minimally invasive procedure used to repair ankle cartilage damage
Arthroscopic ankle cartilage repair is a minimally invasive procedure performed to treat cartilage damage in the ankle.
Cartilage damage is often caused by trauma or injury, but it may also be caused by everyday wear and tear over time. If the damage is in an area where cartilage does not receive good blood flow, this procedure may be used to stimulate the area and encourage cartilage growth.
Once the patient is prepared for surgery and anesthesia has been applied, the surgeon makes two small incisions on the sides of the ankle. More incisions may be necessary. The joint is then expanded with a fluid injection to create better access for the surgeon.
A small camera called an arthroscope is inserted into the expanded joint. The arthroscope is used to provide the surgeon with image guidance during the procedure. Using the arthroscope, the surgeon assesses the damaged cartilage.
The surgeon removes the damaged cartilage by using special tools inserted through the incisions.
After the damaged cartilage is removed, the underlying bone will be exposed. This bone may be stimulated by the surgeon with special tools. This is done to encourage the healing process by bringing blood to the joint surface to grow new cartilage.
All instruments are then removed, and the incisions are closed with tape or stitches.
Because this procedure is minimally invasive, recovery time is often faster than if the procedure was performed traditionally. Swelling and soreness of the joint may occur four to six weeks after the procedure. The length of the healing process may vary, depending on the severity of the initial injury or the amount of treatment needed. Bracing, such as a splint or walking cast, and crutches may be needed to avoid putting stress on the ankle in the weeks following surgery.