Keeping Hips Young

November 14, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Artificial hip replacement is a common procedure for older arthritis patients, but for those who are fifty or younger, there is one major concern; the artificial joints only last for a few years and doctors can only replace them once or twice. Now, a unique procedure can buy younger patients time.At 39, Lori Mayer suffered from hip dysplasia. She had a shallow hip socket that would cause the joint to "pop" out suddenly. Because of her young age, artificial hip replacement wasn't a good alternative.

"I may have qualified for two or three in my lifetime with the materials that are available, but basically, by my mid-sixties, I would have been in a wheelchair and that wasn't an option for me, either," Mayer told Ivanhoe.

Surgeons are now using a technique to allow younger patients to hold on to their original joints. At Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, doctors perform what's called a pelvic osteotomy.

"We would make controlled cuts around the pelvis and we move it around and make the socket deeper," Javad Parvizi, M.D., an orthopaedic surgeon at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, explained to Ivanhoe.

By reshaping the hip socket, doctors provide a new area of cartilage for the joint. The arthritis and pain start to go away and the range of motion improves drastically.

Doctors say rehabilitation can last up to six months, but once a patient recovers they have no restrictions.

"I can pretty much do whatever I set my mind to doing," Mayer said.

There's no stopping Mayer, who hopes it's smooth sailing from now on.

It's been five years since Mayer had the surgery. Dr. Parvizi says her preserved hip joint will last years and maybe even her lifetime, reducing the likelihood she will ever need a hip replacement.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
1-800-JEFF-NOW
www.jeffersonhospital.org


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