Ever since we flew home from New Jersey where Solly had the minimally invasive SPML surgery last June, I have been worrying non-stop about the health of his hips. Hip issues are common in children with cerebral palsy: tight, spastic leg muscles compounded with less time spent weight-bearing not only cause the hips to pull out of the socket, but also make it difficult for the hip sockets to form completely.
After SPML, we were sent home with the instructions to keep Solly in a brace as much as possible to keep his legs from scissoring and then do another set of X-rays after six months to see if the surgery was a success. For the first six weeks, we had him in a custom hip abduction brace 24/7. Once he had recovered from the surgery, we changed up our routine so he would sleep in his custom brace and wear a SWASH brace during the day or be brace-less under a watchful eye. Even though we were sticking to the plan and our physical therapist assured me we were doing everything possible, I still worried that his left hip would begin to dislocate again, resulting in a very invasive surgery to stabilize both hips.
Well, today was the day we had a follow up appointment and X-rays with our local orthopedic doctor. The verdict is in: Solly and his hips get an A+. Not only are they stabilized, but the left hip socket has matured, giving the left hip more of a socket to rest in.
Whew! This Mama is relieved!
This is not to say that Solly won’t have hip issues in the future – given his diagnosis and tight leg muscles, we’ll always need to be vigilant about stretching and keeping his legs loose and from crossing. However, because of the SPML surgery, he is getting to spend more time on his feet and practicing walking, so it’s likely that his hips will continue in this positive direction. We can now allow Solly to sleep without his brace and will simply continue to monitor his hip health every six months.