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Periacetabular Osteotomy (PAO)

Periacetabular Osteotomy (PAO)


After a PAO, patients will be walking within the first week, full recovery takes several months.


A continuous passive motion (CPM) machine is used to assist joint healing and maintain hip mobility. Weight bearing is increased gradually as tolerated at four weeks, and anticipate unassisted walking at six to eight weeks. Strengthening exercises and nonimpact activities (cycling, swimming, elliptical) are also progressed at four weeks.   For athletes, jogging starts three months after surgery and return to full sport is allowed at four months.  The total recovery time from PAO surgery is from 6-12months.


Risks and Complications

PAO Surgery is very complex, and it can have significant complications.  Dr Slattery employs numerous techniques throughout the procedure to minimize surgical risks, but complications can still occur.  Risks specific to PAO surgery include:

  • Nerve Damage: permanent nerve injuries are very rare following PAO, some patients may have numbness down the outside of their thigh due to stretching of the nerves to the skin, this usually recovers in 3-6months. There is a very small risk to the large femoral and sciatic nerves during PAO, which can leave permanent sensory and strength loss to the leg.
  • Bleeding: as the pelvic bone has to be cut numerous times, there can be significant blood loss from this operation. Dr Slattery routinely uses blood salvage techniques to minimize the use of blood transfusions post operatively.
  • Over/Undercorrection: Despite x rays taken during the operation, it may be required to change the position of the bones in the immediate post operative period.
  • Fracture: as Dr Slattery uses a minimally invasive PAO technique with X-ray guidance there is a small risk of fracture, which is normally detected at the time of the operation
  • Non Union: this occurs when the cut bones do not heal together, this is very rare following PAO
  • Infection


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We aim to see all fractures within 24hrs