• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Don't replace your hip -- reshape it

August 11, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Hip replacement surgery is common for older people with arthritis. But for those 50 and under, there is one major concern -- the artificial joints only last for a few years and doctors can only replace them once or twice. But now a unique procedure can buy younger patients more time.Ten years ago, Lori Mayer would never have been able to move around like she does now. Lori suffered from hip dysplasia, meaning 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, three in my lifetime with the materials that are available," explained Lori. "But basically, by my mid-60s, I would have been in a wheelchair, and that wasn't an option for me either."

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," said Dr. Javad Parvizi, an orthopedic surgeon for Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

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," said Lori.

Now there's no stopping Lori, who hopes it's smooth sailing from now on.

 

- Get more L.A. breaking news, weather, traffic and sports
- Have a news tip? Send your tips, video, or pictures


Load Comments