In developmental dysplasia of the hip, formerly called congenital dislocation of the hip, the newborn's hip socket and the head of the thighbone (femoral head), which normally form the hip joint, become separated, often because the hip has a socket that is not deep enough to hold the head of the femur. Dysplasia of the hip is more common among
Newborns who have other deformities (such as birth defects of the feet Clubfoot and Other Foot Defects Clubfoot (talipes equinovarus) is a birth defect in which the foot and ankle are twisted out of shape or position. The usual clubfoot is a down and inward turning of the hind foot and ankle... read more or problems with the neck Congenital Torticollis Congenital torticollis is a birth defect in which the head becomes tilted at or soon after birth. The most common cause of congenital torticollis is Injury to the baby's neck during delivery... read more )
Newborns who have close relatives with the defect
All newborns are screened for developmental dysplasia of the hip. The doctor may be able to detect the defect by moving the newborn's hips through a series of specific movements. The right and left legs or hips often look different from each other in affected newborns. Newborns at high risk of hip dysplasia, especially those born in breech presentation, those born with other deformities, and girls who have a positive family history of developmental dysplasia of the hip, should have ultrasonography of their hips at age 6 weeks.
An imaging test is also needed if the doctor finds any abnormality when examining the infant. In infants younger than 4 months, ultrasonography Ultrasonography Ultrasonography uses high-frequency sound (ultrasound) waves to produce images of internal organs and other tissues. A device called a transducer converts electrical current into sound waves... read more of the hips can confirm the diagnosis of developmental dysplasia of the hip. In infants older than 4 months, x-rays Plain X-Rays X-rays are high-energy radiation waves that can penetrate most substances (to varying degrees). In very low doses, x-rays are used to produce images that help doctors diagnose disease. In high... read more can be used.
Early treatment of developmental dysplasia of the hip is important to avoid the need for surgery later. The best treatment is early use of the Pavlik harness. The Pavlik harness is a soft brace that holds the infant's knees spread outward and up toward the chest. The use of triple diapers (an older treatment) or padded diapers is no longer recommended. If the defect persists past the age of 6 months, surgery to fix the hip in the normal position is usually needed.
(See also Introduction to Birth Defects of the Face, Bones, Joints, and Muscles Introduction to Birth Defects of the Face, Bones, Joints, and Muscles Birth defects of the face and limbs are fairly common. They may involve only a specific body part, such as the mouth ( cleft lip or cleft palate) or foot ( clubfoot). Or they may be part of... read more .)