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Arthroscopy (Keyhole Surgery)

Ankle arthroscopy (or keyhole surgery) is when a small telescope and instruments are inserted through tiny cuts in the ankle joint allowing Mr Heidari to view the joint and carry out a range of treatments. Pictures of the inside of the joint are viewed on a monitor in the operating theatre.

In most cases, arthroscopy can be carried out as a day case procedure. Procedures that can be carried out using arthroscopy include:

What are the benefits of having arthroscopy?

Benefits include:

  • Minimal scarring
  • Faster healing with less chance of infection
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Faster rehabilitation
  • Improved outcomes for many procedures, including ankle fusion surgery

Are there any problems associated with having arthroscopy?

Any type of surgery carries some risk, including damaging nerves and blood vessels. However, in most cases, the benefits outweigh any risks.

Before surgery

You can help improve the outcome of surgery by attending a pre-assessment screening where you’ll have blood tests to check for levels of Vitamin D and swabs to rule out infection or other problems. You’ll also be weighed and have an opportunity to discuss your medical history. This is important so that any anaesthetics problems can be identified.

Please note: it’s important to stop smoking at least eight weeks before your procedure; this is because smoking can affect the body’s ability to heal and causes health problems including an increased risk of blood clots forming in the lungs (pulmonary embolism) or calf (deep vein thrombosis).

What happens after surgery?

When you wake up your foot will be numb and pain-free. A member of our physiotherapy team will help you to stand, supported by crutches. The physiotherapist will also give you a tailored programme of exercises to help you walk correctly, allow the ankle to regain movement and flexibility, and reduce swelling. In most cases, you’ll be given anti-inflammatory painkillers to take for a few days.

How can I speed up my recovery?

Making sure you stick to the exercise programme and any other advice about looking after the wound will help you to get back to your normal activities as quickly as possible. It can also help to keep weight off the foot for the first few days, and raise it above the level of your heart whenever you can to help reduce swelling.

Your recovery will depend on the reason for your surgery and everyone recovers at different rates. However, you’ll be offered regular follow-up appointments so that Mr Heidari can check on your progress and answer any questions you may have.

When can I drive again?

The DVLA states that it’s the responsibility of the driver to ensure they are always in control of the vehicle. A good guide is when you can stamp down hard with the foot to stop the car during an emergency stop. How long this takes will vary, depending on the reason for the arthroscopy procedure.

Although Mr Heidari will advise you about when it’s safe to start driving again, it is your own responsibility to drive safely and you should also check with your vehicle insurer to confirm you are covered.