How is the Surgery Performed?

The surgery is normally performed with a keyhole technique. This uses two incisions, only one centimetre long each, to insert a thin metal tube with a camera mounted on the end into the ankle joint.

The other incision is used to insert special shaving devices which can be used to remove scar tissue, loose cartilage and bony spurs which can contribute to the pain felt by patients.

Sometimes a further incision is made at the back of the joint to allow access to bony spurs at the back.

Surgery is carried out under general anaesthetic, but can be augmented with local anaesthetic injections behind the knee or around the ankle. The injections are normally given while you are asleep for your comfort. They can give good pain relief for the first day after the operation. You can go home the same day in the evening.

Risks of Surgery

Bleeding, infection, poor bone healing, poor skin healing, injury to tendons, injury to nerves, recurrence, and a need for further surgery.

There is a small risk of blood clots in the legs or lungs (DVT and PE), and there are also risks from anaesthesia - the process of being put to sleep for your operation.

Risks of Anaesthesia

The injection behind your knee is given using an ultrasound machine to guide the needle. There is a less than 1% chance of injury to the nerve. General anaesthetic also carries risks. These risks are proportional to your general health. You will need to be assessed for your fitness for surgery and an Anaesthetist will be able to advise you on your individual risk.

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