Sheela's Minimally Invasive Femoral-Acetabular Impingement (FAI) Surgery Story

Just four months after minimally invasive hip surgery, Sheela was hiking.
Just four months after minimally invasive femoral-acetabular impingement surgery, Sheela was able to start hiking again.
For six agonizing years, Sheela Houston, 25, had constant pains in her back and abdomen but no doctors could pinpoint what was causing the problem. Sheela went to a gynecologist who thought she may have a hernia or fibroids. During a laparoscopy, her doctor determined that she had polycystic ovaries that may cause severe discomfort. She was treated with pain medication, birth control pills and various creams to soothe the pain but nothing helped.

“I felt like I was going crazy because I was still in pain but no one could figure out why,” Sheela recalled. “I love to run, participate in sports and play with my sister’s kids but I had to stop doing all of that because it hurt to move around.”

Sheela eventually had an MRI and X-rays done, which revealed a hairline fracture in her right hip joint. Her doctor sent her to see Dr. Michael Muldoon, a Sharp Memorial Hospital-affiliated orthopedic surgeon. Dr. Muldoon performed another MRI and diagnostic injections to determine the source of Sheela’s pain and to evaluate the extent of soft tissue damage in her hip joint. He confirmed that Sheela had femoral-acetabular impingement (FAI), a deformity of the hip joint that limits the joint’s normal range of motion. Sheela would need surgery to treat a severely inflamed ligament and a torn labrum, which is a tearing of the cartilage-like structure that seals the ball-and-socket joint in the hip.

“Doctors know a lot of stuff but I’m really thankful for Dr. Muldoon,” Sheela said. “Other doctors didn’t take the time to listen to me about my problems. Dr. Muldoon knew the right questions to ask to figure out where my pain was really coming from.”

Three weeks later, Sheela was scheduled for minimally invasive femoral-acetabular impingement surgery at Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego. She underwent minimally invasive FAI surgery that left her with three tiny scars on her lower right hip, all less than a quarter of an inch in length. Although she couldn’t stand for long periods of time and had to use crutches to walk, Sheela was able to go home only two hours after surgery.

Sheela returned to work as an administrative assistant two weeks later. She saw a physical therapist who gave her exercises to strengthen and stretch her hip and leg muscles. Four months after surgery, she started running and hiking again. After living with constant pain for six years, it took less than a month after Sheela’s diagnosis to become pain free.

Find a San Diego Orthopedic Surgeon
To find a Sharp-affiliated surgeon who specializes in FAI, send us an email, search for San Diego orthopedic surgeons or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, from 8 am to 6 pm.