Osteotomy for Hip Dysplasia: What to Expect

When you have hip dysplasia, the socket portion of your hip joint is too shallow to properly support the ball joint at the top of your thigh bone. This imperfect fit can cause your joint to wear out faster than normal, leading to pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility. In fact, hip dysplasia is most often to blame for arthritis developing in the hip before age 50.

Fortunately, there are ways to correct this alignment issue while preserving your natural joint and avoiding hip replacement surgery in the future.

Eric E. Johnson, MD, specializes in orthopaedic procedures in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. If you have hip dysplasia, here’s how an osteotomy could help.

Hip dysplasia basics

Hip dysplasia is often present from birth and impacts approximately one in every 1,000 babies in the United States. It typically occurs because of a baby’s position in the womb, and it can also be hereditary. 

The problem with dysplasia is that it causes the weight-bearing bones forming your hip joint to bear more stress than they should. Over time, this causes cartilage to break down in the joint, causing your bones to rub together.

Signs of hip dysplasia include:

Anyone can have hip dysplasia, but it’s most common in women and firstborn children.

Osteotomy and hip dysplasia

The sooner you can diagnose hip dysplasia, the better. And, fortunately, 9 in 10 cases of hip dysplasia get detected in adolescence. This is good news because the quicker you take steps to correct alignment issues, the more likely you can preserve natural hip joint tissue and prevent deterioration. The best solution is with osteotomy.

During an osteotomy to correct hip dysplasia, Dr. Johnson basically reshapes your bones to improve your hip joint alignment. There are several different osteotomy techniques, depending on your hip instability and misalignment. 

For example, during an acetabular osteotomy, Dr. Johnson cuts the pelvic bone around your hip socket — or acetabulum. Then, he repositions the acetabulum to restore normal hip joint function and stabilizes them in place with screws, plates, or pins. Finally, he fills any gaps between the bones with bone graft material before closing your surgical incision with sutures.

As you heal, new bone forms across any cuts made during your procedure. This helps secure your repositioned joint in place permanently.

What to expect from osteotomy for hip dysplasia

You can usually expect a short hospital stay after your procedure, and your physical therapy begins before you head home. You can expect to have weight-bearing limitations on the treated hip, and you need to use crutches for six to eight weeks.

In most cases, you can return to school or work after approximately three months and usually resume athletic activities within 6-12 months.

Realigning your hip joint through osteotomy provides the best solutions for relieving pain, restoring function, and avoiding joint deterioration. Approximately 90% of people who undergo osteotomy for hip dysplasia report long-term pain relief and improved quality of life.

If you have hip dysplasia, don’t wait to find solutions. Contact our office to schedule an appointment by calling 424-309-1492 today.

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