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Infant hip dysplasia is a diagnosis made usually at birth or shortly after birth that involves an abnormality of the infant's hip. The hip is a ball and socket joint that does not always stay tightly within the ball and socket so that a particular maneuver can show a click, meaning the joint is susceptible to dislocation. The problem is also called congenital dysplasia of the hip or CDH. It is now formally known as developmental dysplasia of the hip or DDH.

The cause of hip dysplasia is not known completely. It occurs in about four births out of a thousand or 0.4 percent and is usually seen in girls who are first born. Risk factors for developing infant hip dysplasia include having a family history of hip dysplasia, being born breech or having a relative lack of amniotic fluid within the uterus, a condition called "oligohydramnios". Infants with a club foot or a twisted neck at birth are at higher risk for having hip dysplasia.

Doctors do a particular physical examination to determine if there is hip dysplasia. The knees are drawn up and the hip is rotated outward to feel for a click when this maneuver is done. The tests for hip dysplasia are known as the Barlow test and the Ortolani test. Both maneuvers will cause a hip click to occur at the time of the test if there is congenital hip dysplasia.

Once a hip click is felt, the doctor often does an ultrasound of the hip to see if it dislocates. Because the bones are not very well developed in infants at birth, an x-ray is often not helpful. The ultrasound instead can show the positioning of the ball and socket and can show a socket that is poorly developed or a ball that is out of the socket (dislocated).

The treatment of congenital hip dysplasia depends on how old the child is. The idea is to treat it as soon as possible so that chronic dislocation does not occur. The chances of full recovery are greater with early treatment. If a baby is from birth to six months, a special harness is used to keep the hip within the socket. It is called a Pavlik harness. The baby wears it at all times like a cast to keep the joint stable. If it is not picked up until later, congenital hip dysplasia is treated differently. The baby may need to be knocked out with anesthesia in order to put the hip into place. The hip is put into a special cast called a spica cast that keeps the hip stable for several months. This is done if the baby is between 6 and 12 months of age.

If the baby is older than a year, surgery may be required to put the hip joint in the right position. A spica cast is then used for several months to keep the hip joint in the proper position. The baby will not be able to walk while it is in the spica cast.

The success of the treatment of congenital hip dysplasia depends on how old the child is at the time of treatment of the disease and on how well the hip is able to be reduced. The chances of complete recovery go down with the advancing age of the child at the time the treatment is started. Those who do not do well will develop early hip arthritis and difficulty walking. Such a child may need to have a hip replacement later in life to replace the damaged joint. Congenital hip dysplasia can be a painful disease that can influence the ability of the infant to get around and ambulate properly.

HELPLINE: ☎ 1800 633 634

Medical Negligence Solicitors

If infant hip dysplasia was worsened or was not diagnosed due to mistakes by a doctor or hospital, it is important that you protect your interests and make certain that you are compensated for injury to yourself or your child. Our medical negligence solicitors normally deal with claims using a no win no fee arrangement which means that if you don't win then you don�t pay them their professional costs. If you would like legal advice at no cost then just complete the contact form or email our offices or call the helpline and an infant hip dysplacia solicitor will telephone to discuss your potential claim.