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Knee & Hip Problems Message Board

Knee & Hip Problems Board Index

Hello! Hopefully you've been able to find some sort of relief for the pain and are able to enjoy your long awaited trip to Europe.

I'm sorry to hear that you're having a difficult and miserable time with your hips. I was diagnosed with a labral tear in April 2004, and the only 2 symptoms that I had were 1) a click in my hip and 2) nerve pain that shot down my leg whenever I took a step. Upon seeing my first orthopedic physician, I was given a series of 4 cortizone shots with no relief. I was referred to another orthopedic surgeon who was considered the "best" in his specialty area, who diagnosed me with hip dysplasia. I was told that I had to have a specific surgery if I was to have any positive outcomes from this, a surgery that is called periacetabular osteotomy (PAO). Basically, it's a hip reconstruction surgery. Although the surgeon said he'd fix my labral tear while he was doing the PAO, he did not. Also, the three orthopedic surgeons I saw said that I, too, was too young for a hip replacement - I was 27 at the time.

Since my PAO surgery in 2005, I have been in worse pain in comparison to pre-surgery, and have continuously needed to pursue treatment. I have now seen a total of 3 chiropractors, 2 physical therapists, 1 general practitioner, and 5 orthopedic surgeons (2 orthopedic surgeons refuse to see me because I've already had surgery). In summary, here are some of the responses I've received that answer your questions:
1. Arthroscopic surgery to repair my labral tear would have likely been unsuccessful because hip dysplasia is when the hip socket is too shallow for the "ball" and therefore, does not provide enough stability in the joint. Even if my surgeon did repair the tear during my hip reconstruction, it probably would've ended up torn again because of that instability in the joint. This isn't to say that your procedure wouldn't be successful; there are so many variables, i.e., how shallow your hip socket is, how much of a tear exists in your labrum, etc.

2. I, too, heard, "You are too young for a hip replacement." Having heard this from two well-respected orthopedic surgeons, along with being told that the PAO is the better option, I trusted their recommendation and proceeded with that surgery. Looking back, I would not do the PAO surgery again. The past 5 years have been a medical battle, not only with pain, treatment, and finding doctors who can help me deal with the after-effects of what was done during the surgery, but also with insurance. I've heard many positive things about hip replacements; and even though they don't have years and years of durability (several docs and my research have said that it lasts about 10-15 years), it's definitely something to consider. What I think about now is my quality of life, and how the past 5 years have been a struggle not only for me, but my family as well. I haven't done a hip replacement yet because I don't feel comfortable taking the chance of doing another surgery after having experienced the first one...but it's definitely an option that I keep open. Also, currently, I see a chiropractor every other week. Every visit I get adjusted, and sometimes, he has to adjust my right hip as well as my left. My surgery was on my right side, and my left hip does have a slight case of hip dysplasia-but not enough to warrant surgery as of 5 years ago. When my chiropractor adjusts me, my left hip pain goes away. Basically, because my right side is so messed up, my left side compensates and eventually starts to have issues as well. My suggestion would be to take note of how your body is working and how it may be compensating for the pain you experience on one side. It may not necessarily be a tear that's forming on your left side.

3. Having gone through hip surgery, I would not advise doing 2 hips at one time. Consider that you'll likely progress from a wheelchair, to a walker, to crutches, to a cane, etc. One of the most rewarding moments is when you get out of bed for the first time (the day of or the day after surgery) and are able to take that first step. If you do both at the same time, you'll likely be unable to do so for a much longer period of time since it'll be extremely difficult to walk with both hips recovering. Your progress may appear to be slower under those circumstances, even though you may be right on track for having both done at the same time.

4. It's understandable that you'd be scared of having surgery. I was terrified! The main thing is to do everything possible to answer any questions and alleviate any uncertainties you may have prior to surgery. For example, 1) be treated by a surgeon you trust (critical!); 2) ask as many questions as you need to and keep asking until you receive answers that sit well with you (once you're in surgery, there's no turning back - don't leave room for regrets); 3) do your own research to come up with questions, to understand the procedure, and to compare notes with what's told to you by your doctor; and last, but definitely not least, 4) don't rush to make a decision. It's your body, and you decide when it's right if it's right.

I hope this helps :)

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