Hip Diagnosis

Well, I got a call this morning from my orthopedic surgeon in Dallas. He told me the results are in from the CT Scan…and I have hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia means that the hip joint is the wrong shape, or that the hip socket is not in the correct position to completely cover and support the femoral head. This causes increased force, and abnormal wear on the cartilage and labrum. He is referring me to see a hip dysplasia specialist, who only comes to UTSW once a month, for a consult regarding an osteotomy. Surgery to change the shape of the hip joint typically involves re-shaping the shallow hip socket (acetabulum) so it is in a better position to cover the ball of the hip joint (femoral head). Osteotomies may be performed on the hip socket side of the joint or on the ball side of the joint (upper thigh bone). Surgeries are on the hip socket side are called “acetabular osteotomies” or “pelvic osteotomies”.

Basically, this is a big deal and will require major surgery to correct. If I do nothing to fix it, the joint will continue to wear out, and I will end up having to have a total hip joint replacement if I do not have hip preservation surgery now.

This surgery involves cutting the pelvis around the hip joint and shifting it into a better position to support the stresses of walking. After the hip is re-positioned, it is held in place with screws until the bone heals. After the bone heals, the screws can be removed, but this is not usually necessary. After the operation, patients should not put full weight on their leg for up to three months, so crutches or walkers are often recommended along with a wheelchair for longer distances until the bone has healed in its new position.

When I hung up the phone, I immediately felt fear. Lots of fear. I just had my abdomen reconstructed, and now we are going to rebuild my hip joint? I then started saying “I trust you, God” and repeated this many times until I started to believe it. I am trying hard to stay calm. We don’t know what the specialist will say. I need to just do some research to learn more about this and wait until the consult. I don’t know when the consult will take place. I was told the office will call me later this week to schedule the appointment.

My symptoms do match up with hip dysplasia pain – anterior hip pain and pooping/clunking. I have had these issues for many years, and it is starting to get worse. I just don’t understand how this went undiagnosed for SO long. In PT school, I learned about hip dysplasia in babies and young children, not in adults. This is all such a shock. I never would have guessed this was the problem. I’ve had x-rays and an MRI read here in Amarillo that came back “normal.” I guess that just proves how important second and third opinions are and the skill of the radiologist reading your scan.

This may be the cause of the pelvic pain that I have been dealing with since adolescence. My pelvic pain specialist agreed that hip dysplasia is a “classic problem that can be associated with persistent pelvic pain in some cases.”

Still just shocked. This will take a while for me to process. As scary as all this is, it is nice to have a diagnosis…even if it possibly means more surgery. I am trying to stay calm and wait until we have more information. It’s a journey. I will do more research and decide what the best option is from here. Thank you for all the prayers and support. I pray this might be the answer to all my hip and pelvic pain issues.

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