Hip Preservation Program
Patient Stories | Michaela

Michaela's Single-Event Multi-Level Surgery: One and Done

Video Transcript

Michaela's dad, Derek: "Having the surgery and then recovery, it's it's not easy, but it is doable."

From her first breath, Michaela faced an uphill battle with her health. It was when she was two that her mom noticed that one leg was longer than the other.

Michaela's mom, Christina: "So I decided to get a referral to see orthopedic found out she had hip dysplasia."

After several years of monitoring her growth, it was time to address her hips.

Christina: "Her hips were so far out that we had you know, at that point, we had to do something."

Michaela's parents wanted a second opinion, and came to Cincinnati Children's to meet with James McCarthy, MD and learn more about SEMLS surgery, a single-event, multilevel surgery.

James McCarthy, MD, Director, Division of Pediatric Orthopaedics: "If we can focus on addressing all the orthopedic issues at one time, then it is a big deal, but it's only a big deal once."

During the SEMELS surgery and Mikayla was able to have Varus DE rotation Osteotomy or VDRO, Bilateral Pelvic Osteotomy and Abductor Release performed. She also received Botox to help with the pain.

Christina: "Having it all done was very helpful. I can't imagine doing one side and going back and doing the other."

James McCarthy, MD, Director, Division of Pediatric Orthopaedics: "So that's really the goal, this idea of doing multiple surgeries and having a really comprehensive assessment upfront, spend a lot of time with that family and the patient upfront, lets us decide what are those things we need to get done so that we don't have to go back again."

Sarah Diersing, MSN, nurse practioner: "This is not an easy surgery, but we're here for you. We will take you through it one step at a time. It's definitely not a quick fix. It's very overwhelming for families."

Dr. McCarthy: "I always joke to the patient that it doesn't matter how long and difficult surgery is my job's easy job is it's everything that the family goes through afterwards to recover the patient walk and they have the hard job."

Christina: "So Michaela was in a cast for six weeks with an with a brace so her legs were like this with a bar in the middle to keep them out."

Derek: "I mean it is bulky and then carrying or you're carrying her like this."

Michaela's recovery was long, and she was pretty much homebound other than her to follow-up appointments at Cincinnati Children's.

Derek: "But she's tough. She's been through a lot of surgeries. So she's I think it was harder on us than for her."

After six weeks of healing. The bracing cast were able to come off.

Christina: "We were excited. We got it off like before Christmas. It was awesome."

Michaela did experience pain and at times was afraid to move with patients and physical therapy. Michaela made great strides.

Christina: "They did say it could take nine to 12 months to get back to baseline and I feel like six months later we are there. She's laying on the floor coming up to sit she's walking in her gait trainer. She's bearing weight in her feet. If she walked maybe a little bit more you know, I would say we are completely there but we are so close."

Sarah Diersing: "These parents are amazing what they go through with these kids."

Dr. McCarthy: "These families and kids are just, they are my heroes."

Christina: "Michaela is happy going girl, she she loves music. She loves swimming, being around her big brother, Austin."

Derek: "She does things different. You know, she just it's it may not be the same way as another child, but she'll get there."

Christina: "Michaela will do great things she already has came a long way it's you know, baby steps, but it's a win for me. Good Job, Michaela."

(Published March 2023)

More Information

Learn more about cerebral palsy hip disorders.