Hip Dysplasia

I have what?

April 20, 2013

I have been having hip problems since last August.  It just started hurting out of the blue.  I have a huge loss of movement and pain. At first, I hoped it was temporary and would just go away.  It didn’t, so I saw a chiropractor.  That didn’t help.  Then, I made an appointment with an orthopaedic clinic and saw an orthopaedic PA.  He did an X-ray and said everything looked fine and that he would send me to physical therapy and see how it went. I went to therapy and it didn’t help.  So, I went back to him and he ordered an MRI.  The results came back and showed torn tendons, tendonitis and torn cartilage.  Finally, an answer.  He told me I would have to have artheroscopy surgery and referred me to a surgeon at the same practice.

So, I went to see the surgeon, thinking we would set a date for the surgery and I could be done with all of this.   I went to see him and he had very bad news for me.  He told me that I have a very severe, degenerative, congenital hip deformity in my socket called acetabular dsyplasia.  Basically the ball of my femur doesn’t fit properly in the socket.  Interesting.  At first, I was thinking, Ok…more answers.

Then, he told me that the surgery I need to fix it is very serious.  It’s called a periacetabular osteotomy. It would entail breaking my pelvis and then rebuilding  it to be like it should.  It is a very serious surgery with a long recovery period. They would make a huge incision, pull my muscles back, saw my pelvis apart, reset it an insert long screws to hold it in place until it fuses back together.  WHAT???????

I have torn and worn down cartilage that puts me into the beginning stages of osteoarthritis and I have torn tendons, all resulting from the hip dsyplasia. What we found on the MRI were only the results of the underlying problem. He said that mine was one of the worst cases he had ever seen.  Not something you want to hear from your doctor.  Also, he gleaned this from my X-ray.  Yea, the one that the PA said looked fine.  Ugh! Months of physical therapy for nothing.

If I don’t have the osteotomy surgery, then my condition will continue to degrade to the point where I won’t be mobile any more.  The alternative is to wait it out and then have a full hip replacement at whatever point in time that the pain becomes unbearable or I can’t walk properly.  The problem with a hip replacement is that it won’t last that long and I’m only 35, but the benefit is that recovery isn’t so bad.   The benefit of the osteotomy is that it would potentially last longer than a hip replacement, if I’m a candidate for the surgery.

I left his office in tears and in shock.  I just couldn’t believe it.  It’s disheartening to think that I could struggle to be mobile for the rest of my life.  Also…running…never going to happen again.  I know most people think that’s probably a bonus and truthfully I haven’t been running nearly as much in the last several years.  But, as a former cross country runner, I do love to run and it’s a release for me, so it’s sad to think I’ll never run again.

I have been doing lots of research.  I have an appointment with two different surgeons who specialize in this area next month, one in Richmond and another in Philadelphia.  This is such a serious matter that I felt it would be worth it to get two opinions from leading surgeons.

The other thing to worry about is that we have the babies on the way and I don’t really want to be recovering from surgery when they are born.  Their due date is around the end of October!  (By the way, just talking about this like it’s actually going to happen is a huge leap of faith for me.  I believe, but I’m also scared as hell.)

It’s always something, right?  Anyone know of anyone that has this condition or has had this surgery?

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  • Heather

    oh no 🙁 How long is recovery? It might be worth it to have the big op, actually the babes are less mobile in the begining, just as long as you are mobile by the time they are 6/7 months!

    • Whitney Anderson

      I’m not entirely sure how long recovery is, but could be up to 6 months! :/ Yea, you’re right, better sooner than later.

  • I don’t have any wisdom on this. It is definitely good that you are getting more opinions and doing a lot of research. I agree with Heather that it might be better to do it now and have your mobility increase as the babies’ mobility increases. (also – congratulations on the babies!)

  • Nikki

    My mom had a similar issue. She opted for a full hip replacement at age 47 ish. She couldn’t walk before that. She is now exercising daily and running around like crazy like nothing happened. It took a few weeks of recovery from the hip replacement for her to be up probably a few months to be really mobile without pain. Of course she was shorter on one side until the hip fully seated properly. I agree though that getting the surgery sooner would be way more helpful. Now that my little guy is 10 months he is harder to carry around and I am having to chase him more with the crawling. In the beggining it isn’t so bad.

  • Emma

    Hi! stopping by from ICLW. I wish I had some words of advice for you! I’m glad that you’ve decided to get more than one opinion. I wish you the best!

  • jenn

    I can’t imagine how overwhelmed you must feel with all of that news. I am hoping your second opinions give you more clarity on the matter to help you in your decision-making process.

    -Jenn from ICLW

  • Debbie

    Hi Whitney,
    It has to be overwhelming with all that you and Erick are going through. As a Mom of triplets having gone through infertility 8 + yrs. myself the thought of surgery and twins
    due can be so terrifying. Get those 2nd opinions, new babies sleep a lot the first few weeks, God provides and hears our prayers. God Bless you both.

  • Emily

    Hey there, I’m sorry you’re dealing with this. I had to have three major spine surgeries about seven years ago. It’s not exactly the same, but my story had a happy ending and I’m sure yours will, too.

    My best advice is to get a little snotty–find out who’s the best in the field and go there. Wherever it is. Don’t act until you’re 1000% comfortable with the doctor and have a good understanding of what he’s planning to do. Even then, get a second (and maybe third) opinion on his plan of action. There are “rock star” docs who will review MRI film and plans of action even if you can’t get in to see them–at least, I know that’s true of back doctors.

    Also, screw bedside manner. Go with the smartest most experienced doctor you can find. You can pay someone else to hold your hand, if necessary. (I am only talking about bedside manner in the form of sparing your feelings, approaching difficult topics gently, etc….don’t tolerate anyone who won’t explain things to you).

    I’ve never regretted my surgeries–and I think my back surgeon walks on water. I hope you wind up feeling the same. <3

    • Whitney Anderson


      Wow, that sounds like a tough time. Glad you are doing well now.

      Thanks. Good advice. Second time I’ve heard that — forget bedside manner and go with the haughty smart doctor! 🙂 Yes, I want the best!