Stories about: Dr. Eduardo Novais

The PAO buddy system: Healing through connection

Leigh Lozano and Alyse Scanlon PAO patients Thriving lead image

For people with significant orthopedic hip conditions such as hip dysplasia, a periacetabular osteotomy (PAO) is a major surgery that can reduce or eliminate pain, while also increasing hip function. However, the post-op recovery and rehabilitation process can be long and sometimes painful.

“Recovery is an up and down process,” says Ariana Moccia, a nurse practitioner who works closely with patients in the Child and Young Adult Hip Preservation Program at Boston Children’s Hospital. “It’s important for patients to be able to share their frustrations and successes with somebody who really understands.” That’s why Ariana and orthopedic hip preservation surgeon Dr. Eduardo Novais have been working to connect prospective PAO patients with others who have already gone through the surgery.

Three of the patients who helped initiate the PAO “buddy system” at Boston Children’s share their experiences.

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ABCs of DDH: What moms and dads need to know

Baby with developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) is seen at Boston Children's Hospital.A family’s journey with developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) typically starts when a baby’s pediatrician hears a click in her hips. The next steps often include an ultrasound and a follow-up with an orthopedic surgeon, perhaps a pediatric hip specialist.

College friends Tosha LoSurdo and Jessica Rohrick recently re-connected after their babies were both diagnosed with and treated for DDH at the Boston Children’s Hospital Child and Young Adult Hip Preservation Program.

Tosha’s daughter, Carmela, and Jessica’s daughter, Phallon, were treated with a Pavlik harness and are on a regular follow-up schedule with their pediatric orthopedic surgeons — Drs. Eduardo Novais and Travis Matheney.

The new parents offer advice for other parents whose babies are diagnosed with DDH.

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Too hip for dysplasia

developmental dysplasia of hip Thirty-something moms Tosha LoSurdo and Jessica Rohrick have been friends since college. In 2015, both learned they were pregnant for the first time. They thought they might share similar sagas as new moms — diapers, sleepless nights and teething. They didn’t expect to bond over infant hip dysplasia.

When Tosha’s daughter Carmela was born on Feb. 4 at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the pediatrician noticed her hips were a little “clicky.” She was told the connection between the femoral head (top of her thigh bone) and hip socket wasn’t stable, and Carmela might have developmental dysplasia of the hip; Carmela was referred to Dr. Eduardo Novais, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon and hip specialist in the Boston Children’s Hospital Orthopedic Center and Child and Young Adult Hip Preservation Program, who examined her before she was discharged home.

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Before the white coat: Dr. Eduardo Novais

Dr. Eduardo Novais practices his soccer skills.

When Dr. Eduardo Novais was growing up in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, his main hobbies were soccer and capoeira — a martial art that originated in Africa and blends dance, acrobatics and music. “There was a fair amount of prejudice in Brazil when I was a child. I hung out with a lot of Afro-Brazilian kids, which helped me not see color in people,” says Novais.

Eduardo Novais — At a glance

Favorite childhood book, game or hobby:
capoeira and soccer
Advice for 10-year-old self:
“Never be afraid to explore.”
Favorite way to relax:
Novais tries to make it home every night in time for bath time and story time with his children Arthur, 3 and Sophia, 5. They also love playing soccer together.

Though soccer and capoeira set the stage for some lifelong friendships, Novais tended to dodge his friends when they were flirting with trouble. “I never broke many rules. I wouldn’t jump from a high tree or do anything before my friends did. I was always extra careful.”

There’s one exception to Novais’ aversion to risk — his professional life. Novais bounced from Brazil to Boston to Denver and back to Boston as he pursued his dream of becoming a pediatric orthopedic surgeon, specializing in caring for babies, children and young adults with hip conditions.

And today, the man who confesses to measuring every move he makes has some simple advice for his own children and his patients. “Don’t be afraid of failing. You’ll learn a lot more from failing than from not failing.”

The boy who loves soccer has become a successful orthopedic surgeon in the Boston Children’s Orthopedic Center and Child and Young Adult Hip Preservation Program.

Learn more about hip conditions and treatments.

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