Bennett Grabowski found out that he had bi-lateral congenital hip dysplasia at 15 years old.
Bennett was only a sophomore in high school and hip dysplasia seemed like a far-off diagnosis at the time
Bennett Grabowski found out that he had bi-lateral congenital hip dysplasia at 15 years old. After telling his mom, Suzanne, about pain in his right hip, they went to his pediatrician who suggested they contact a hip specialist. Bennett was only a sophomore in high school and hip dysplasia seemed like a far-off diagnosis at the time. Because Suzanne and her husband, Scott, both work for Orlando Health, they knew the specialists they wanted to see were at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children.
“We were lucky that we knew where we needed to go to get a thorough assessment of Bennett’s condition, a comprehensive diagnosis and plan of care and the best possible outcome,” explained Suzanne. “Our son was afraid he might have long-term trouble walking and we were all scared, but after consulting with pediatric orthopedic surgeon Dr. Jose Herrera-Soto, the decision was made that Bennett needed to have hip preservation or Periacetabular Osteotomy (PAO) Surgery.”
PAO surgery involves cutting the pelvis around the hip joint and shifting it into a better position to support the stresses of walking - a simple explanation for an otherwise intense surgery on a teenager. After the hip is re-positioned, it is held in place with screws until the bone heals.
“Preparing for this surgery is very overwhelming, but the resources we found on the International Hip Dysplasia Institute website helped,” said Suzanne. “We watched some of the videos on the surgery and read other patient stories. Bennett had no previous experience with surgery, so he was very apprehensive, but it helped to see and read what others have gone through. Although this condition can be diagnosed at any age, the experiences of children and young adults having the surgery can be very different from what adults experience.
“The benefits of an early diagnosis, and treatment by an orthopedic surgeon with significant experience in caring for patients with hip dysplasia, increases the likelihood that the original hip joint can be preserved and reduces the likelihood or postpones the need for future hip replacement surgery. The resources and information provided by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute website perfectly complimented the knowledge and expertise of Dr. Herrera-Soto so that we felt confident making this medical decision on behalf of our son.”
Although recovery from PAO surgery is difficult and painful, Bennett’s surgery on June 12, 2018 was a success and he has since returned to a full activity level and is back to rowing on his high school crew team. The screws in his right hip were removed over Thanksgiving break and he is ready to have the same procedure on his left hip next summer.
“If I would have any suggestions for parents experiencing the same issue,” said Suzanne. “It would be for them to find the center of excellence in their area. Ask about how many PAO procedures they have performed and what the outcomes were. Make sure you find someone who has an expertise in hips, especially for children and young adults.”
The IHDI, a part of Orlando Health, focuses on: increasing awareness and prevention, developing new diagnosing technologies and improving the treatment process for those affected by hip dysplasia. The IHDI has served the global hip dysplasia community by focusing on the education, advocacy and research of hip dysplasia, but in order to reach their goal of eradicating almost all cases of hip dysplasia, they need your support. Visit HipDysplasia.org to learn how you can get involved.