Periacetabular Osteotomy (PAO) surgery

As most of you know, I am having surgery April 1st… no, this is not an April Fool’s joke! 😉 A lot of family and friend’s have been asking me about my surgery, so I thought I would take a chance to explain exactly what it is in more detail because I often have trouble keeping track of all of the details and describing it in person. Sometimes writing it all out helps me to explain it better. So for those of you interested, the surgery that I am having is called periacetabular osteotomy (PAO) surgery.

I was diagnosed with hip dysplasia.

“In individuals with hip dysplasia, the acetabulum does not develop fully, making it too shallow to adequately contain and support the femoral head. When this abnormality is present, the ball and socket are misaligned and the labrum can end up bearing the forces that should be distributed throughout the hip. Also, more force is placed on a smaller surface of the hip cartilage and bone, resulting in arthritis over a number of years.

Injury to the labrum and the ligaments that help hold the joint in place can add to the pain and wear and tear on the cartilage. The severity of hip dysplasia can vary considerably from instances in which there is a minor malalignment to a complete dislocation of the femoral head and acetabulum.

Left untreated, hip dysplasia can result in early degenerative changes – the beginnings of osteoarthritis, in which the cartilage wears away and bone rubs against bone. In advanced cases, the patient may require hip replacement.

Patients with hip dysplasia who experience pain and have limited damage to their cartilage may be candidates for periacetabular osteotomy (PAO). This procedure involves a series of cuts to the bone to reorient the acetabulum over the femoral head, in order to restore a more normal anatomy. Screws are then placed in the bones to stabilize this position” (

Essentially, my hip sockets are retroverted and are so shallow that eventually the cartilage will completely wear away leading to the possibility that I would need total hip replacement. The PAO surgery is preventative of having to have total hip replacement in the future. “Hip arthroscopy may also be performed along with a PAO in selected patients (for example, to repair the labrum)” ( Since I do have a labral tear as a result of the hip dysplasia, my doctor agreed that he would fix the labral tear while performing the PAO surgery. Knocking out two birds with one stone!

I have done a lot of research and talked to a lot of people with hip dysplasia that have had this surgery. After my research, I have determined that this is the best option for me at this time. I hope I am making the right decision. A few of the things that I have found that guided my decision to get the surgery:

-a main symptom of a number of people that have hip dysplasia and get the surgery is buttock pain and discomfort (ME)

-research shows that the younger (mid to late 20s being the optimal age) you are with more mild to moderate symptoms the more success you have with the surgery (ME)

-the surgery is preventative of total hip replacement (of course something I would want to avoid)

There are a number of other reasons, but those are just to name a few.

Here is a link to the full article on hip dysplasia and PAO surgery:

Also, there is a very interesting animated video that briefly animates the surgery (nothing too graphic…just a simulation) and describes hip dysplasia in a little more detail.

So, there you go! A little more detail in a more organized fashion than me trying to pronounce and describe PAO surgery to you in my own words and in person! I hope that answers your questions 🙂 

I also started a private Facebook group to keep friends and family updated, stay connected and interact after my surgery. A lot of family and friends have been asking that I keep them updated, and I thought that would be an easy way…plus, interacting with all of you will help my maintain my sanity when I am couped up letting my hip bone heal!!

Thanks for all of the concern and support!! It means a lot 🙂 Stay tuned, and thank for following!!


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