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My hip dysplasia

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In November 2002 I underwent surgery to correct my hip dysplasia. Before the procedure, I wanted to look up some information on the internet. I really couldn’t find much about the surgery, just a lot about protheses.

If you are interested, here is the whole story - from my birth through recovery from the surgery (including my x-rays!).

hip story (main theme)
x-ray before operation
x-ray after triple osteotomy
surgery triple osteotomy
removal surgery
triple osteotomy webring

If you have any questions about that subject, you can ask me in my "hip-forum". Be sure I will answer it...
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I was born... 

In August 1968 I was born a very healthy baby. At my 6-week checkup it was discovered that I was born with hip dysplasia. The dysplasia affected the hip joints on both sides - the left a little more pronounced. I was fitted with appliance that kept my legs spread in an attempt to reseat the ball-joint of my hip. I wore those corrective appliances for 2 years - I even learned to walk with them! After this initial treatment, I was re-checked every 2 years and the doctors determined that I might need an operation when I stopped growing.
Between 6 and 16 years old, I was very active in sports. Gymnastics were my favorite. I practiced my gymnastics about 5 times a week! Unfortunately had to give this up when I was 16 because my knees had started causing me problems.
At 20 years old, my orthopedic specialist asked me if I experienced pain – I truthfully answered ‘no’. Since I had no complaints, nothing was done about my hip dysplasia.
After I finished high school, I made a printing apprenticeship and finished 5 years of university (with very little sports, by the way) … it has started very slowly….


Beginning of the suffering... 

After 30 years, it all started. At first there was a little pain while I was sitting – usually on low chairs or couches – like a little stretch in my left hip.
About 1 year later, I would have pain when I did too much - like a lot of walking or standing. So I returned to the doctor (another one, since I had relocated to different town). After more x-rays, this doctor could only tell me “You have a hip dysplasia”. Additionally, the ultrasound showed that the cartilage was already a little “insult”. 
The doctor advised me not to make a lot of straining movement. So, I signed up to work out in a gym (with a doctor watching and supervising all exercise). By the way, the doctor at the gym didn’t take me seriously at first. She said that my pain came from different factors in my past environment – like 2 years sitting at a desk all day … until I showed her my X-Rays!
Again, a year later, my pain was so dominant that I had to cancel my gym training and I could walk for only about 5 minutes. I went to the orthopedic specialist again and again. Except for “pills” and some physical therapy, there was nothing else I could do.
It takes very long time before you will consider an operation….


Now everything is starting... 

On my own, I went to the hospital to get a real checkup. Luckily, I live in a town with a good hospital. They determined that I should stay in the hospital for 1 week to do some necessary tests - so I went in the summer of 2002.
There I got some physical therapy, massages, electric baths and so on. When I was released after that week, I had a date for the operation in November 2002 (as I had expected). They wanted to perform a Triple-Osteotomy. There is an explanation of that operation by clicking on Triple-Osteotomy.


The Operation... 

So I got operated on the 15th of November with a general anesthesia. It took about 100 minutes (I could read in the OP report later). Everything went smoothly except there was a little problem with the anesthesia (like I could really tell at that point). I lost about 2.5 liters of blood, of which 1 liter was replaced by my own blood that was drawn earlier.
One day of intensive care was planned, but because of that stupid anesthesia, it turned into 3.
When I woke up the first time my first thought was: Shit, they really did it…


The scars... 

And they are NOT small… The biggest on is about 25 cm long and is on my left side on the stomach from the groin to the first rib - and there are metal screws! The 2nd scar, where the pubic bone was cut, is about 5 cm long. The 3rd is on the middle of my bum and is about 10 cm long, that is where the ischium was cut. (You want to know more about it, so read the explanation about Triple-Osteotomy.


A further procedure... 

They made me get up after only 3 days (with crutches of course). For 6 weeks I was supposed to put only 20 kg weight my leg - which is about the weight of one leg itself. After 6 weeks, I should build-up my leg with about 10 more kilos every week up to the 12th week. After 12 weeks, I should try to put full strain on my leg again - which does NOT mean that you are ready to throw away the crutches… 


The time after... 

The time right after the operation was bad. I was really well cared for in the hospital. On the 2nd day post surgery, a physical therapist came to my bed and moved my leg! When I was out of intensive care, at a normal station, all kinds of therapists and masseurs came and worked with me. The big event came on the 3rd day: OUT OF BED! At first with a little rolling cart and again, after 3 days, with crutches.
Oh my god –I will never forget the first steps! Inside my hip joint and all the muscles around it were nothing like it used to be! I would describe the feeling as that of gears that don’t fit together or sharp shafts wedging to constrict the movement of my hip. Of course, I guess I should have expected that, all the bones and muscles had been cut and turned!
Probably the worst thing was the blackout problems! Because of the blood I’d lost, my body had to struggle not to blackout all the time. They want you to walk as much as you can, but I just couldn’t… Thankfully, after 2 to 3 weeks, that problem went away.


The Rehabilitation... 

After 13 days in hospital, I was released to the rehabilitation clinic which adjoined the hospital.

Now the therapy really started:

  • Physical therapy
  • Medical sports therapy
  • Massage 
  • Lymph drainage 
  • Swimming
  • Bicycling
  • Movement splint 
    … all of these - every day!

I was in the rehabilitation clinic from the 3rd through the 7th week post surgery. After the 7th week, I took the therapy as an outpatient for another 4 weeks. I slept at home and went for therapy into the clinic, just like going to work.

In all, I was under doctors’ supervision and therapists for 11 weeks after surgery – which was fine with me. I felt a little “safe” like that, since it turned out to be a bigger thing than I had imagined.


At home again…. 

At home, and still not working, I have tried to go back to normal life and to keep my house clean. I go to physical therapy and massage twice a week in the neighborhood (and it’s really good), but the easiest things like hanging up my laundry (standing too long), sitting on the toilet (too low), or walking stairs still didn’t work


How am I now... 

Today it is 15 weeks after the operation. Since the 12th week, I can fully stand on my leg again and I’m exercising a lot to walk without crutches. Easy to say, but not so easy to do - after 12 weeks, I still can’t throw away these crutches. Slowly, one or two steps at a time, I can walk without them and in the following days there were more and more steps… Today I can walk without crutches in my home, but if I go outside I have to take them. When my husband is with me, I take only one. I can go shopping alone with my backpack for little things at the supermarket that is about 500 m away.
I still have one big problem: my back. For some months before the operation, I had pain in the lower lumbar vertebra of my back. This was brought on by the crooked walking I had developed with the dysplasia.
After the operation it became worse (of course). The doctors say it is the ISG (Ilio-Sakral-Joint), where the pelvis comes together with the spinal column.

But I am looking forward. Every day I see a little progress and I hope that my back pain will lessen in the future, when I can walk better.


The prospects... 

I had the operation so that I could go on living normally. Since I could walk only for 5 minutes before the operation, I’m hoping this will greatly improve. Of course I would like to do sports again (playing ice hockey, ping-pong or walking in the mountains): things the doctors said I will be able to do again, just not this year…


11 month later - Screws out...

On october 22nd 2003 I will go to hospital again, to HOPEFULLY get these screws out of my hip...

4 weeks ago I had my last chechup (also for getting a date for the screws-out operation) where I also said the doctors that I was doing quite well this (really hot) summer, but as soon as the fall weather came up some pain was coming back. If it was the weather or some overexertion or just my body fending against the screws - I don´t know...
Anyway - the doctors decided to check me first before the little operation to find out why I wasn´t doing so well with my hip in the last weeks and then they will HOPEFULLY take the screws out after some days...
(By the way - a "triple osteotomy colleague" got her screws out 4 weeks before me and she said that she went to hospital in the morning, they made the op (it took only 18 minutes) and she was able to go home again in the evening, with crutches for 2 weeks, but she didn´t have to stay in hospital. Nice prospects ;-)

Think about me...


Yeah, the screws are out...

October 27nd 2003 after some tests in hospital they´ve finally removed the screws out of my hip.
What should I say: I FEEL FREE AND I AM VERY FINE!!!

The operation took only 20 minutes. This time I also didn´t want a general anesthesia, but only a spinal anesthesia. Regardless I told the anesthesist I still want to sleep... Was a good choice, since you are fully awake directly after the operation, you are not a bit stupid in the head like if you head a general anesthesia.
But back to the actual subject: It seems that I was very lucky. When they have opened myself, they could see all the screws very good, nothing has grown into bones and it was very easy to remove all screws.

More you can read in my operation report "removal of screws" (it´s still only in German), there I´ve also put a photo of my screws with weight and length (that are now laying in front of me ont the table and don´t stick in my pelvis any more ;-)

What should I say? I am very fine. I can walk straight and I don´t feel any of the former pain!

I finally made it...!!!

By the way - I am a member of the following webring with my hip story...

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