18 Months Post DDH Hip Surgery


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Someone's cat is howling outside my house and it's driving me crazy!!!

18 Months Post DDH Hip Surgery

It’s been 18 months since my baby had an open reduction surgery to put her dislocated left hip back into its socket. If you haven’t read our story, we found at when our youngest daughter was 15 months old that her left hip was completely out of socket and had instead formed its own secondary socket up higher on her pelvis. Although she had been checked numerous times when she was a baby, it wasn’t picked up until she started walking. We noticed it because of a limp she had and then confirmed our fears with a pediatric orthopedist. She had a leg length discrepancy caused by the femur sitting up higher on the pelvis than it should which caused a waddle-like limp. Sara had surgery on November 1, 2011 and was in a horrible cast called a hip spica cast {it went from her waist to her ankles} for 12 weeks and five days. But who counted?? 😉

During these last 18 months, I have followed many people on their own journey with Developmental Dysplasia of the Hips – mostly on an awesome Hip Toddlers Facebook Group I’m part of. Unfortunately, many of the people I connected with have already been faced with surgery number two for their babies.

We have been told from the beginning that our daughter will likely face more surgery because her dislocation was discovered late in life {at 15 months} instead of as a very young baby and was quite severe. DDH is supposed to be easier to fix in young babies because the hips and femurs work and grow together for the first few years. When the hip is out of socket for the first year of life, as it was in my daughter’s case, they miss out on all of that tremendous growth and it just gets harder to fix as cartilage turns to bone and body parts become less malleable.

We just had our third check-up  post spica for our little girl. Our appointment was at 7:15 yesterday morning so our older three kids spent the night with Grandma to simplify our early morning departure. We rolled into the hospital right on time {that might be record for us because we are almost always late} and headed for our appointment.

Sara had an x-ray to check the position of her hip and Dan and I stared at it for a good long while before we left the radiologist’s office. It’s always scary to look at that x-ray. I never quite know what to expect. But I am so happy to report that her scan showed great progress, and I could see it myself as I stared at in the radiologist’s office! For the first time ever, I have hope that her body will do what it needs to do and develop a proper socket to hold her femur securely in place. We went through all of the x-rays she’s had over the last 2 years, and I was amazed at the improvement. Her first x-ray is simply unbelievable to me. I can’t believe Sara was able to walk as well as she did with such a messed up hip. But there was clear improvement even from the last x-ray she had just six months ago. I could see her socket started to round out like it should. And it was clear that her false socket is disappearing. And even better, we could see that her the ball of her femur, the femoral head, is getting bigger, like it needs to. It was a great day!

We are still not out of the woods. Sara’s hip needs to continue to form – her socket needs to deepen and round out and her femoral ball needs to keep growing. Our surgeon told us that over the next 18 months we should continue to see progress. If we don’t, we likely take have to take the next step, shaping her pelvis in a pelvic osteotomy to give her hip what it needs to keep everything connected and in place.
Hope the Hip Hippo

All in all, we were thrilled with our appointment. We left our surgeon with a wonderful book about a little girl going through her own hip surgery, called Hope the Hip Hippo, written by friends of ours. We got this book after our daughter came out of her cast {because it hadn’t been written yet} and I couldn’t get through it the first few times I read it without crying. If you are going through hip surgery, I really recommend this book for your precious baby! I am so glad this resource is available for parents getting ready to head down this path. Our surgeon was thrilled with the book as it is the only one like it I have found!

 If you are curious, here are more posts about our DDH journey.

Top 10 List for Preparing for your Child’s Hip Surgery

Helpful Supplies for Use with a Hip Spica Cast

How to Entertain your Child in a Hip Spica Cast

Tips for Diapers a Child in a Spica Cast

Is Hip Dysplasia Painful?

And you can find many more posts on DDH here.

I have received many comments and emails from parents who have been or are getting ready to go through this. I love hearing from you. Please don’t hesitate to connect with me.

About Michelle Marine

Michelle Marine is the author of How to Raise Chickens for Meat, a long-time green-living enthusiast, and rural Iowa mom of four. She empowers families to grow and eat seasonal, local foods; to reduce their ecological footprint; and to come together through impactful travel.

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  1. That is great news Michelle! Great to hear that she has made such positive progress.