This spring, Brooke Hayes traveled to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, taking in the music of Jimmy Buffett, Arcade Fire, The Strokes, Lauryn Hill and Better Than Ezra. The trip was remarkable for this previously well-traveled young woman from Ormond Beach, Fla.
Hayes’ suitcases had been empty and idle because of her severe hip pain.
Hayes had her hips replaced in two surgeries at Mayo Clinic in March and August 2010. Now, new hips in place, she’s making up for lost time.
“I’ve visited Texas and Savannah, Ga., since my surgeries and gone to concerts and weddings and ridden a motorcycle—all things I could not do when my hips became painful,” says Hayes. “I was living like an 80-year-old, and I wasn’t even 30 yet. It was exhausting just to go to the grocery store. Now, I’m completely pain free.”
Hayes’ case was unique because she has spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita (SEDC), a bone growth disorder that results in short stature (dwarfism) and skeletal abnormalities. Hayes, 30, was born with the condition. She is 3 feet, 10.5 inches tall.
In her search for an orthopedic surgeon who had experience with complex hip replacement procedures, she interviewed a handful of surgeons across the country. Hayes’ parents accompanied her to the consultations, and all three family members were convinced Mark Spangehl, M.D., at Mayo Clinic’s campus in Arizona was “the one.”
“Dr. Spangehl’s responses to our questions were straightforward,” says Hayes. “He helped us to have realistic expectations. We had no hesitation that he and Mayo Clinic were the right choice.”
Hayes’ original hips lacked the normal ball-and-socket structure, which caused her thighbones to turn inward. The pain she experienced was due to bone rubbing directly on bone. Dr. Spangehl and his team, which included fellow orthopedic surgeon Christopher Beauchamp, M.D., took numerous X-rays and CT scans and created models of Hayes’ femur, hips and pelvis. They practiced surgery on the models to determine the specifics of the custom parts that would be necessary to remodel Hayes’ complex anatomy.
“We reconstructed the hips to restore more normal anatomy, which also improved her gait,” says Dr. Spangehl. “We needed implants that were small enough to accommodate her small stature. We rehearsed Brooke’s surgery on the models of her pelvis and thigh bone before the actual procedure to determine how best to correct her anatomy and reconstruct her hips.”
Now, Hayes has normal hips for the first time in her life and says she has more flexibility than she has had in a decade. She has resumed exercising and doing other activities she loves. “We’re all very happy with the outcome, and it’s evident from Brooke’s smiles and attitude that she feels much better,” says Dr. Spangehl.
Hayes agrees wholeheartedly, calling Dr. Spangehl her “superhero.”
“I cried tears of joy after the first surgery because my hip pain was gone, and I could tell this was going to have an outcome that far exceeded my expectations,” says Hayes. “My friends say the light has returned to my face. Dr. Spangehl and his team did a phenomenal job. I don’t think he understands how great he is. He and Mayo Clinic gave me new life.”
(This story comes to us from the Sharing Mayo Clinic print publication.)