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Crooked as a question mark

In my last post, I mentioned my "terribly crooked tailbone."

My last doctor and I looked at at pre- and post-op x-rays, which showed my tailbone pulling sharply to my left. Though we initially thought the surgery had caused the shift, the pre-op x-rays showed the same thing. Seems hip dysplasia was not my only problem; the construction of my entire pelvic region has been wacky from the start.

The doctor is certain, however, that the PAO caused an unnatural pull on the muscles/tendons/ligaments from the tailbone to the hip area, triggering the pain I've been feeling. It may get better with time; it may not.

I do not regret having my PAOs. I do want to note, though, that experts are still gathering information about long-term success of this surgery, which began in Switzerland in 1984. I am not a doctor, and I am not an expert in this subject. But I do feel that unexpected side effects (like tailbone pain) are more common than these top-notch surgeons are currently taking note of. My awesome surgeon made me aware that my hips weren't ever going to be pain-free, but I didn't really think tailbone pain would be a part of this equation.

But who I am to complain? Because of this, I get to talk about my backside a lot. ;)


TnT said…
Oh wow, wacky yes! It's very clear on that x-ray.

I totally agree with your assessment on PAO outcome risks. There just haven't been that many PAOs done/studied over time, since it's so relatively rare, to know all the risks, which is scary.

At least you know clearly what's causing the tailbone problem. I will continue to hope that you find relief.

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Questions for surgeon pre-op

Below is my list of questions to ask Dr. Mayo pre-op.

About pre-op care and my dysplasia How many degrees is my dysplasia?How’s the other hip? When will I need surgery on it?What are my chances for a successful surgery?Should I be following any special diet or medication restrictions?
About the surgery
How long is the surgery?Will you be doing the entire surgery or do other surgeons help?Chances of finding FAI or tears in labrum? Then what?Worst-case scenario while in surgery? Any chance of THR or no PAO?Will I be intubated?Do you do a bone graft?Where will scar be?What kind of stitching?When will the catheter go in?What are the screws made of?Will I lose much blood during surgery? Should I donate my own blood prior to surgery? If so, will I get that blood back? About post-op care
What can I expect during my hospital stay? How long will I be in the hospital?How will my pain be managed in the hospital and at home? Will I get an epidural? When will it go in? What items do I need at home to he…

4 months post-op/scar pic

If there's one blanket statement I could make about having a periacetabular osteotomy, I would say this:

It's a long recovery.

When friends, family, co-workers and strangers have comments or questions about the surgery, it's usually something like: "That sounds awful!" or "Was it really painful?" or "Scary."

Truth is, while it was awful, painful and scary at times, this whole time, it simply has been long. At four months post-op, I still feel remnants of surgery in my hip. I still can't lie on my op side for longer than an hour or two without discomfort, and I still have to help my leg in and out of the car on occasion. My hip is still tender to the touch, and of course, that tailbone ...

Don't get me wrong. I have SO much to celebrate, and I can't imagine myself happier with my left hip. I have recovered smoothly and quickly. I'm not asking for anything more. That being said, I have made the following progress in the past two …

3 years post-op LPAO

A surgery can change your body. Two surgeries can change everything.

Today, on the third anniversary of my LPAO, I inevitably think back to my first operation and the years leading up to that day.

Everything has changed.

I am an outdoors enthusiast and exercise nut. I can stay on my feet all day. My new body has freed my soul, and my heart responds in kind.

The breakdown is exactly the same as it was at two years post-op: zero pain with a couple of exceptions, great range of motion, same tingly patch and itching. The one difference is that my tailbone pain has waned considerably, which gives me much, much relief.

I'm a different person today than I was on April 23, 2008, and I'll be forever thankful.