When you think of hip surgery, an elderly person might come to mind, not a teenager. Until recently, a young person with hip dysplasia had to go out of state to have surgery to correct it, but now, a surgeon at Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Health is healing hips in Baton Rouge.
Dr. John Faust, pediatric orthopedic surgeon for Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Health, has now performed a peri-acetabular osteotomy, or PAO, on two teenagers in Louisiana.
His latest surgery corrected pain associated with hip dysplasia in 14-year-old Emma Brown, a St. Amant High School Gatorette who loves to dance.
“I compete competitively in hip hop and jazz,” said Brown, who first found out about her hip dysplasia after an accident at a dance competition.
“We had an accident on stage where another girl collided into me doing a trick and that’s when I started experiencing the pain.”
Weeks later, Emma still had pain. While there was no direct injury, an MRI helped doctors discover the hip dysplasia on the left side of her pelvis. “Jazz focuses on a lot of stuff on the right side, so the left leg has a lot of pressure on it,” Brown explained.
Hip dysplasia isn’t caused by an injury, but can be more symptomatic after an injury such as Emma’s.
“Most people don’t really get recognized with hip dysplasia until their teenager years or even in their 20s or 30s. Hopefully by then, you catch it before they’ve already developed arthritis,” said Dr. Faust.
“Really, the key is having the pediatrician do a good job screening for hip dysplasia in babies. If it’s very mild hip dysplasia and it’s not caught when they’re babies, then you probably won’t catch it for years,” he added.
Dr. Faust is the only doctor in Louisiana performing the PAO on teenagers, a surgery that can alleviate Emma’s pain.
“With hip dysplasia, the cup of your pelvis where the ball of the femoral head sits doesn’t give it the coverage that it needs. The surgery is to cut around that cup and reorient it to give it more coverage so that your hip is stable.”
Dr. Faust invited WAFB inside the operating room while he performed the PAO on Emma’s left hip.
During the surgery, Dr. Faust took the bone and moved it up on top so that it’s well covered. He shifted it for better alignment and used screws to hold it in place. It’s now re-positioned in a better place to support the stresses of walking and dancing.
Thanks to Dr. Faust and his team, Emma will be walking again in about six weeks and dancing again next spring.
“Most people are completing physical therapy between four and six months. On average most people are back to their former level of sports around six to nine months,” said Dr. Faust.
“It’s a long recovery, but it’s worth it. Jazz and hip hop are hard when you have aches and pains because of the amount of tricks and the amount of energy it takes to get through that type of dancing. The surgery will really help with dancing,” said Emma.
Dr. Faust says Emma won’t be done with her physical therapy in time to perform with the St. Amant Gatorettes this football season, but she tells us she’ll still be on the sideline for the games.
She is however, looking forward to dancing and competing again after she finishes her PT in the spring.
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