• By Dana Sparks

Sharing Mayo Clinic: Surgery puts hiker back on top

September 30, 2018

When hip dysplasia triggered painful symptoms, Sandra Cook feared her hiking days were over. But an intricate orthopedic surgery at Mayo Clinic took away the pain, and now Sandra has happily returned to the trails.In the Loop hip dysplasia patient Sandra Cook hiking on top of a mountain

When Sandra Cook stood atop the granite monolith Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, not only could she see the beauty of the Yosemite Valley stretching out before her, she also could again envision a future filled with the adventure she loves.

"I was afraid I wouldn't be able to hike the way I had before. Hiking, backpacking, reaching a summit, it means the world to me," Sandra says. "It was so exhilarating to be at the top of Half Dome. At that moment, I felt like it was all going to be OK."

An avid hiker who has trekked throughout the southwestern United States, as well as in Argentina, Chile, China, Peru and Thailand, Sandra was sidelined for almost a year due to severe pain caused by hip dysplasia. At 45, she was worried that her only treatment option would be a hip replacement. But then she learned about another possibility. A surgical procedure known as periacetabular osteotomy, or PAO, might be able to correct the problem and eliminate the pain.

David Hartigan, M.D., Sandra's orthopedic surgeon at Mayo Clinic's Arizona campus, worked with Rafael Sierra, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon at Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus, to coordinate the surgery and help Sandra realize her goal of returning to mountaintops.

"I am grateful to both of them," she says. "It was a lot longer recovery than I had anticipated, but it was worth it. Now I'm back, and I'm so thankful." Read the rest of the story.
This article originally appeared on the Sharing Mayo Clinic blog.