Arthroscopy of the Wrist and Ankle

Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure performed to view, diagnose, and treat problems of the joints of the wrist and ankle.  The surgeon uses a small camera, called an arthroscope, and tiny instruments which are inserted through small incisions.  Arthroscopy enables the surgeon to see the anatomic parts and their movements without making large incisions into the muscle and tissue.  Arthroscopic surgery is a valuable diagnostic and treatment tool used to help in diagnosing and resolving joint stiffness, unexplained pain, swelling and giving way or popping of the joint.  Wrist and ankle arthroscopy is usually performed under regional anesthesia.

During arthroscopy the surgeon will make one or two small half-inch incisions, known as portals. The portals are placed in specific locations depending on the areas that need to be visualized. The arthroscope and special surgical instruments are inserted into the joint through these portals. The arthroscope is a thin tube with a camera, lens and light source. The surgeon will be guided by the images relayed from the arthroscope onto a video monitor throughout the procedure. The surgeon will perform any necessary repairs depending on the problems identified.  After the procedure, the portals are closed with small stitches and a dressing is applied. You may be instructed to wear a splint for a short time after the procedure.  You will be instructed on special exercises to regain strength and mobility and may be prescribed pain medications to relieve any pain. 

Recovery following arthroscopy is generally more comfortable for the patient than an open surgery which requires a larger incision. There is usually less pain following the procedure and the healing time is faster when compared to an open procedure. Wrist arthroscopy is performed as a day surgery where most patients can go home within several hours after their surgery.