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Nerve Injury After Periacetabular Osteotomy (PAO) Surgery

Nerve Injury After Periacetabular Osteotomy (PAO) Surgery

Have you undergone surgery for hip dysplasia, anticipating improved mobility and reduced pain, only to encounter new, unexpected challenges? Following periacetabular osteotomy (PAO) surgery, it’s possible to experience nerve injury that can cause significant complications in recovery.

As a board-certified surgeon with extensive experience in nerve repairs, peripheral nerve surgery, and microsurgery, Anthony Echo, MD, specializes in diagnosing and treating all types of nerve injuries, including those related to PAO surgery.  

At his practice in Houston, Texas, Dr. Echo identifies the underlying issue and provides personalized recommendations for treatment using a patient-centered approach. Take a moment to learn why nerve injuries can result after PAO surgery and how Dr. Echo can help you manage these complications. 

PAO surgery and nerve injuries

Periacetabular osteotomy is a surgical procedure primarily used to treat hip dysplasia, where your hip socket doesn’t fully cover the ball portion of your upper thigh bone. 

This surgery involves cutting and repositioning the bones of your pelvis to improve the coverage of the ball, enhancing joint stability. While PAO can significantly improve hip function and pain, it’s a complex procedure that carries certain risks, including nerve injuries.

Types of nerve injuries you might experience after PAO

The human body contains billions of neurons and hundreds of nerves. But four nerves are most commonly affected after PAO. Here’s a closer look:

Sciatica nerve complications

The sciatic nerve, running from your lower back to your feet, can become scarred after PAO surgery. This scarring can cause pain and weakness that radiates down your leg, affecting your mobility and quality of life.

Femoral nerve impact

Your femoral nerve, which runs from the pelvis down your leg, is necessary for leg movement and sensation. It can also be damaged after PAO. Injuries to this nerve might cause weakness in your legs and reduced sensation in the front of your thigh and lower leg.

Lateral femoral cutaneous nerve

Your lateral femoral cutaneous nerve plays a key role in skin sensation on your outer thigh. Post-PAO surgery, some people can experience numbness or tingling in this area, indicating nerve compression or damage.

Obturator nerve issues

The obturator nerve controls the muscles in your thigh. When injured, it can lead to difficulty moving your leg, especially in your thighs. This can affect the way you walk (gait) and your stability. 

These nerve injuries can result for different reasons, such as direct trauma during surgery, compression because of repositioning of the pelvis, or post-surgical scarring.

Treating nerve injury after PAO surgery

The first step in treating nerve injury after PAO surgery is an accurate diagnosis of the issue. Dr. Echo begins with a thorough assessment to pinpoint the affected nerves and the extent of the nerve injury. 

Depending on his findings, he creates a personalized treatment plan. In cases where the injury is minor, pain management, medications to ease symptoms and improve nerve function, and physical therapy may be enough to address the issue. 

In cases of significant nerve injury, severe pain, weakness, or other debilitating symptoms, Dr. Echo may recommend surgical nerve repair. This may involve direct repair, nerve grafts, nerve transfers, or surgical release of the affected nerve(s). 


Worried about nerve pain or weakness following PAO surgery? Don’t wait to seek help by scheduling an appointment with Dr. Echo in Houston, Texas, as soon as possible.

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