Amber’s Story

Hello my name is Amber and I was first diagnosed with hip dysplasia at the age of 19, but the pain started long before I was diagnosed. Growing up I played many sports such as basketball, soccer and softball. I never had any problems with hip pain until I was about 10 or 11 years old. When the pain first presented itself it was only occasional and seemed to flare up after a day of increased activity. I ignored it over the next few years and chalked it up to normal growing pains.

By the time I was 18 years old I started a waitressing job and noticed a large increase in the frequency and severity of the hip pain I was experiencing. The pain got so bad that it was hard to walk after a long shift, but when I would sit to rest it felt as though my hip was popping out of the socket. I couldn’t find any relief, so I finally decided to go to the doctor.

I went into my primary care doctor and she did an x-ray on both of my hips. She told me I had hip dysplasia and referred me to a orthopedist. I had an MRI prior to seeing the orthopedist. The orthopedist told me that the MRI showed that the labrum in my left hip was torn and my dysplasia on my left side was severe and would require surgery. On top of the hip dysplasia I also had stage 3 arthritis in both my hips and my lower back, the back arthritis was most likely caused by walking in an odd way to accommodate my hip pain for so many years.

After seeing a few other doctors over the next few months for second and third opinions, I made an appointment with a surgeon for a consultation. He told me that my left hip would require surgery in the near future because it was already so advanced. The only surgery that the surgeon recommend was a periacetebular hip osteotomy.

On July 11th 2011 I had the PAO on my left side. The surgery itself was about 6 hours long and I stayed in the hospital for 8 days. While in the hospital I had an epidural placed in my back for the first 4 days after my surgery, along with a catheter placed since you cant get out of bed. On the fourth day in the hospital they removed both of these along with the drainage tubes near the incision. By the time I left the hospital I was able to walk with my crutches and get in and out of bed with assistance. The surgery did leave a 9 inch scar, but would lighten up over time. At the 8 week post op date I was released to go back part time to work (I work at a medical office at this point) , to drive again, and to start physical therapy.

Over the next few years my left hip healed very nicely and I hardly experience any pain. But then came the time to talk about surgery on my right side. Both me and my doctor decided to proceed with a PAO on my right side so it didn’t advance as far as my left hip had.

I had my right surgery on march 6th 2014, and I’m currently 5 weeks post op. The experience was this time was about the same as the previous time although my surgeon switched to a new hospital. The recovery seems to be going well this time around also, but I will keep you all updated on my recovery.




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  1. Kerrie says:

    Hi Amber,
    My name is Kerrie, My daughter Hannah is 17 years old and has had hip pain for over three years now. I have seen her go from an active young girl who went to school, played netball, danced, and worked part time at the local KFC to not wanting to do anything because of the pain. In April this year they perform surgery on both hip. Doing a procedure call Bilateral lengthening iliotibial bands. This was meant to release the pressure and she would be pain free. Post surgery was terrible for Hannah. She had very bead bleeding and pain etc. Five months later back at the surgeon again only to find out the Hannah now has Triple Pelvic Osteotomy(O’Hara) hip dysplasia in both hips. Her hips pop out of the sockets all the time. Now normal day to day stuff in impossible. She has had to quite her job, stop playing netball and dancing, and even school has become hard to attend. So in October Hannah will go back into surgery to have her first hip done and then the second hip will be done a couple of months later. I guess my question for you is can you walk/run without a limb? Can you stand and sit without pain? Do your hips still feel line they are popping out?
    Regards Kerrie.

  2. Patty says:

    Amber,
    I am very glad that you’re story seems to have a happy ending. My daughter’s story is similar up to the point of surgery. After years of many contact sports, Natalie was diagnosed at fifteen. However, the first surgery on the left side (also the “worst”) was bad from the start as the surgeon ordered NOTHING for pain. After six hours of the same surgery you had, she awoke in excruciating pain. SEVEN days later the “pain team” was called in and consulted. (I didn’t know there WAS one, or I would have requested to see them.) They then inserted the epidural, kept it in place for three days and began a regiment of strong narcotics. Four months on crutches followed. A year later, metal was removed. Another year later, the right side underwent similar surgery, and metal was again removed the next year. Months went by, and Natalie began to feel pain on BOTH sides just like she felt at the onset of the effects of dysplasia. Turns out… after seeing a new surgeon, and after MRI results on both hips and CT scans as well, she has labral tears. This surgeon has determined that there is major OVERCOVERAGE now, rather than an absence of coverage in the socket. Worse yet, the femur wants to rotate in the wrong direction!!! A fifth surgery is planned for December. I’m wondering if anyone has had a similar problem after having osteotomies. Thank you, and good luck to you!

  3. John says:

    Hi Amber
    My name is John, My daughter Lauren has a story much like yours. She is 16 and has been diagnosed with developmental hip dysplasia in her left hip and will need a PAO surgery. We have been doing lots of research and it seems that having a really good surgeon is key to a successfull outcome. We are willing to travel just about anywhere in the country if necessary. How did you make your final decision on what surgeon to use? How did you find them? Any advise you may have on choosing a surgeon would be much appreciated.

    Thanks
    John

  4. Jamie says:

    Amber, my 19 yr old sister is having the same surgery you had. She thinks after surgery she will have no pain and will be back to normal. Can u write me and descrI be the recovery for her?
    Look forward to hearing from you,
    Jamie

  5. Emma says:

    I was born with hip dysplasia and had a closed reduction surgery on my left hip when I was 15 months old. Now at the age of 18 I am about to have my third hip surgery. Last year I tore a ligament in my right hip from figure skating and a part of my labrum. That wasn’t the whole problem. Finally this year after going to the doctors for four years with hip pain I am going to get treated for my right hip dysplasia.
    Growing up I was a figure skater for seven years and also a figure skating coach. With increased hip pain skating became unbearable. I had to quit skating competitively and thought I’d be okay just reducing my hours. That wasn’t the case, I had to fully stop skating for myself. Coaching even became too much.
    I am really nervous about having this surgery and am hoping that I will be able to begin coaching again as soon as I am recovered.
    Emma

  6. Michelle says:

    Your story sounds so much like my daughters. She was diagnosed at age 18 with hip dysplasia, in the spring of her senior year of high school. She was a dancer and was also very active in sports, mainly softball, basketball, and volleyball. She completed one semester of college, then had her first PAO surgery during spring term. She went back to school the following fall, changing her major to be a physical therapist assistant. She graduated from college in May 2015, got her first pta job summer 2016, got engaged and is getting married this July. Unfortunately her left hip now needs PAO surgery. She will be getting that done in late August. It’s a road we hoped we would never have to travel again, but always knew it was almost inevitable. I long for the day when she no longer has hip pain, and will be able to move on with her life. She will be 25 this fall.

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