Arthroscopic surgery is done using small incisions called 'portals' to access the joint. Two or more portals are typically used with a video camera inserted through one portal, and the surgical instruments inserted through additional portals. Many types of surgeries can be done arthroscopically, but that doesn't always mean that this is the best choice for you. There are many variables we consider when determining how to best perform your operation. Often times, we may perform certain aspects of an operation arthroscopically, followed by larger incisions for the remaining portions of the procedure. Arthroscopy is used frequently in the ankle joint to remove inflamed scar tissue or to access cartilage damage commonly referred to as osteochondral defects (OCD). Sometimes tendon and ligamentous work may also be addressed arthroscopically. Occasionally, arthroscopy may be used to address smaller joints in the foot, such as the subtalar joint or the first metatarsophalangeal joint, but this is generally less frequent.

Arthoscopic view of healthy ankle cartilage.

Arthoscopic view of healthy ankle cartilage.

Damaged cartilage with fraying. 

Damaged cartilage with fraying. 

An osteochondral lesion of the talus with a full thickness cartilage defect down to bone.

An osteochondral lesion of the talus with a full thickness cartilage defect down to bone.