Complications after ankle and hindfoot arthroscopy

Rev Esp Cir Ortop Traumatol. Nov-Dec 2016;60(6):387-393. doi: 10.1016/j.recot.2016.04.005. Epub 2016 Jun 13.
[Article in English, Spanish]


Objective: To evaluate the percentage of complications associated with ankle and hindfoot arthroscopy in our hospital and to compare the results with those reported in the literature.

Material and method: A retrospective descriptive review was conducted on the complications associated with ankle and hindfoot arthroscopy performed between May 2008 and April 2013. A total of 257 arthroscopy were performed, 23% on subtalar joint, and 77% of ankle joint. An anterior approach was used in 69%, with 26% by a posterior approach, and the remaining 5% by combined access.

Results: A total of 31 complications (12.06%) were found. The most common complication was neurological damage (14 cases), with the most affected nerve being the superficial peroneal nerve (8 cases). Persistent drainage through the portals was found in 10 cases, with 4 cases of infection, and 3 cases of complex regional pain syndrome type 1.

Discussion: There have been substantial advances in arthroscopy of ankle and hindfoot in recent years, expanding its indications, and also the potential risk of complications. The complication rate (12.06%) found in this study is consistent with that described in the literature (0-17%), with neurological injury being the most common complication.

Conclusions: Ankle and hindfoot arthroscopy is a safe procedure. It is important to make a careful preoperative planning, to use a meticulous technique, and to perform an appropriate post-operative care, in order to decrease the complication rates.

Keywords: Ankle; Arthroscopy; Artroscopia; Complicaciones; Complications; Hindfoot; Retropié; Tobillo.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ankle Joint / surgery*
  • Arthroscopy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnosis
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Subtalar Joint / surgery*