Arthroscopy is an examination of the joint using an instrument called an arthroscope, so called “Key hole surgery”. This is inserted into the joint through small incisions called portals.
The arthroscope is a tube with a light at the end and a lens at the tip. This allows visualisation of the joint and a diagnosis can be confirmed using this or surgical procedures can be carried out by using instruments introduced into other portals elsewhere in and around the ankle joint.
Ankle ligaments are important for the function and stability of the ankle joint and if they get damaged your ankle may give way doing physical activities. If instability is left untreated for a long period of time permanent damage to the joint can occur which can lead to arthritis. Often in this scenario you will be offered an ankle arthroscopy to inspect the joint surfaces of the ankle and if any treatment is required is required inside the joint this can be performed arthroscopically.
If there is significant instability the ligament can either be repaired or reconstructed but this will be done as an open surgical procedure from the outside. It can often be done at the same time as the ankle arthroscopy.
Other procedures that can be carried out by arthroscopy include removing excessive scar tissue or bone that may cause impingement and restriction in movement in the joint. An ankle fusion can occasionally be performed using arthroscopic techniques.