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Screening and treatment in developmental dysplasia of the hip—where do we go from here?

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Abstract

Purpose

Developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) is a leading cause of disability in childhood and early adult life. Clinical and sonographic screening programmes have been used to facilitate early detection but the effectiveness of both screening strategies is unproven. This article discusses the role for screening in DDH and provides an evidence-based review for early management of cases detected by such screening programmes.

Methods

We performed a literature review using the key words ‘hip dysplasia,’ ‘screening,’ ‘ultrasound,’ and ‘treatment.’

Results

The screening method of choice and its effectiveness in DDH still needs to be established although it seems essential that screening tests are performed by trained and competent examiners. There is no level 1 evidence to advise on the role of abduction splinting in DDH although clinicians feel strongly that hip instability does improve with such a treatment regime. The definition of what constitutes a pathological dysplasia and when this requires treatment is also poorly understood.

Conclusion

Further research needs to establish whether early splintage of clinically stable but sonographically dysplastic hips affects future risk of late-presenting dysplasia/dislocation and osteoarthritis. There is a need for high quality studies in the future if these questions are to be answered.

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Acknowledgements

We acknowledge the British Medical Journal for allowing us to modify tables and figures for use in this article.

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Correspondence to Mathew D. Sewell.

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Sewell, M.D., Eastwood, D.M. Screening and treatment in developmental dysplasia of the hip—where do we go from here?. International Orthopaedics (SICOT) 35, 1359–1367 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00264-011-1257-z

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00264-011-1257-z

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