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Arthro Ankle- A New Twist on Surgery: October 29, 2013

Racquet sports are Steve Koffman’s game. An injury last year threatened to keep him from holding court.

“I had a pretty severe ankle injury playing racquetball. Actually caught my toe, went to the floor. Ruptured two ligaments, partially ruptured two tendons,” says Koffman, who underwent arthroscopic ankle repair.

“Traditionally when people have a sprained ankle they can stretch or tear their ankle ligaments and that can cause long standing instability or weakness,” says Dr. Andrew Belis, foot and ankle surgeon on Lee Memorial Health System’s medical staff.

When a repair is needed, it historically required an open operation with a large incision and multiple stitches. Now there is a new twist on surgery.

“We combine it with an ankle arthroscopy which means a little camera into the ankle with instrumentation to be able to repair the ligament through two small punched incisions. And that technique allows for less dissection and quicker healing time because we preserve the blood flow to the tissues,” says Dr. Belis.

The technique is made possible by increasingly shrinking equipment. The arthroscopic instruments work in the same way as ones used for knees and other joints, only it’s downsized to fit the space.

“When you’re looking at an ankle scope from the inside with the instrumentation it’s a very tiny joint. So it makes it more challenging and recently there’s more and more equipment that’s out there to help with these processes,” says Dr. Belis.

Koffman jumped at the chance to alleviate his ankle strain, which had now impacted the surrounding bone.

“I was referred to Dr. Belis. He came to me and said I can fix that,” says Koffman.

“He actually had a defect in the ankle and it was getting in the way; it was pinched and causing some trouble every time he would bend his ankle or did some sports. So when we went in arthroscopically, we cleaned it up and we addressed that ligament,” says Dr. Belis.

“Amazing results - my ankle feels better then it did prior to the injury. Absolutely the best thing I’ve ever done,” says Koffman.

A few weeks from surgery, the bounce is back in his step.