The Foot and Ankle Clinic

Arthroscopic joint debridement

What is it?   |  In principle how does it work?   |  What does the inside of a "salvageable" joint look like?   |   When/in whom is it likely to be useful?   |  How likely is it to improve my pain?   |   How long will it last?   |  Why not a permanent operation now if the long term effects are not predictable?   |  Will it effect any other operations later?   |   What are the potential complications?   |  The operation

 

How long will it last?
Improvement has been documented certainly to last up to 4 years after operation.
It may continue beyond but the studies that exist are of insufficient length to allow comment.
The ankle may on occasion take several months to improve sufficiently post operatively, though more frequently improvements are felt within weeks.

Why not a permanent operation now if the long term effects are not predictable?
If you have milder arthritic symptoms a progression to more severe symptoms is unpredictable.
The recovery following a debridement is far shorter than following a fusion(2-3 weeks vs 3-4 months).

Will it effect any other operations later?
Generally no.

What are the potential complications?
As for any ankle arthroscopy (see ankle arthroscopy section).
Statistically there is also an 15% chance that symptoms may worsen from the joint. In this eventuality one may require further early definitive surgery, such as replacement or fusion.

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