Minimally Invasive Surgery
When surgery is necessary, Riverside Orthopaedic Surgeons often use a minimally invasive procedure called arthroscopic surgery.
Arthroscopic surgery has the advantage of allowing the surgeon to see inside the joint with an incision as small as a quarter of an inch.A long narrow tube no wider than 1/8 inch is inserted into the tiny incision. At the end of the tube is a miniature video camera recording images of the inside of your joint. Your surgeon views these images on a large, color monitor, and uses small instruments to repair the joint or soft tissues.
What to Expect
- You'll be placed in a position that allows the surgeon to easily reach your injured foot or ankle.
- After sterilizing the area, the surgeon will make a small incision or incisions in the skin and inject a sterile solution that will expand the joint for better viewing and movement of the instruments.
- The joint will be irrigated several times during the surgery to remove debris and fluid.
- The arthroscope is inserted and while looking at the interior of your ankle or foot on the monitor, your surgeon can use tools such as a laser or tiny scalpels to correct or repair problems.
- Once the procedure is done, the joint is irrigated again and the site of the incision is dressed with bandages.
The surgery usually takes 30 minutes to 2 hours. Most patients are discharged the same day, but occasionally, depending on the complexity of the procedure and the patient's condition, a hospital stay is recommended.
What to expect following outpatient surgery:
- You'll be moved to a recovery area to wait for the anesthesia to wear off which will take a few hours. Your vital signs will continue to be monitored.
- Ice packs will be placed on the incision site.
- Because of the sedation and/or anesthesia, you'll need someone to drive you home.
- Once home, it will take several days for the incision wounds to heal and several weeks for the joint to fully recover.
- You'll need to return to the doctor's office to have the stitches taken out in about a week.
- You can expect to go back to work and resume daily activities within a few days to a week.
After the surgery, you should feel significantly better. While your joint may feel great, the foot or ankle still needs time to heal. As you regain muscle strength, you must be careful not to overdo it. For this reason, physical therapy at a Riverside facility may be recommended to speed recovery as safely as possible. With the help of your physical therapist, you'll help reduce future pain by building up strong leg, ankle and foot muscles.