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A qualitative study of the impact of a periacetabular osteotomy on patients’ lives

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The aim of this study was to understand the experience of mature patients who undergo a periacetabular osteotomy (PAO), a major hip-preserving surgical procedure that treats symptomatic hip dysplasia by realigning the acetabulum. Our aim was to improve our understanding of how the operation affected the lives of patients and their families, with a long-term goal of improving their experience.


We used a phenomenological approach with in-depth, semi-structured interviews to investigate the experience of seven female patients, aged between 25 and 40 years, who underwent a PAO. A modified homogeneity sampling approach coupled with criterion sampling was used. Inclusion criteria involved having at least one child at home and being in a committed relationship with a spouse or partner.


Analysis of interview transcripts revealed five major themes: feelings of frustration before having a treatment plan; fear of the operation; the importance of understanding the procedure in order to feel in control of their care; feelings of helplessness, dependence, and depression during recovery; and the need for support during recovery.


Our findings suggest that both the physical and psychosocial burdens of undergoing a PAO are great, with a major impact on the patient and their family. Many important issues lie outside the scope of what healthcare teams currently address.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2022;104-B(7):781–785.

Correspondence should be sent to Samantha L. Ferraro. E-mail:

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