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Pediatrics. 1994 Aug;94(2 Pt 1):201-8.

Developmental dysplasia of the hip.

Author information

  • 1Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington 05405-0084.

Erratum in

  • Pediatrics 1994 Oct;94(4 Pt 1):470.



The definition and early treatment of congenital dysplasia of the hip are controversial. The purpose of this study was to discuss the reasons for changing the acronym to developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) and to address its early detection and treatment.


This multicenter study was designed to provide an updated assessment of the definition, pathologic anatomy, prevalence, etiology, natural history, early detection, and treatment of DDH.


DDH more accurately describes the condition previously termed congenital dysplasia of the hip. The disorder is not always present at birth (congenital) and an infant may have a normal neonatal hip screening examination and subsequently develop a dysplastic or dislocated hip. Developmental dysplasia encompasses the wide spectrum of hip problems seen in infants and children. Physicians should understand that a normal neonatal screening examination does not assure normal hip development. The diagnosis of developmental dysplasia is made by physical examination. The Ortolani and Barlow maneuvers were designed to detect a subluxatable, dislocatable, or dislocated hip in the neonatal period. In the older child, limited abduction becomes a more reliable sign. The examination is variable depending on the type of dysplasia and changes with growth. The ultrasound is proving to be a sensitive tool in confirming the diagnosis in newborns and infants from birth to 4 months of age. The ultrasound is also valuable in older infants in terms of documenting that the dysplasia is responding to treatment. However, the ultrasound depends on an experienced sonographer and, in some cases, may be too sensitive, resulting in overtreatment. After 3 to 4 months of age, an anteroposterior pelvis radiograph can confirm the diagnosis.


All newborns should have a neonatal hip screening physical examination. After screening, the hips should be re-examined during health examination visits at 2 weeks, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, and 1 year of age. If any question arises during these visits or if there are associated risk factors, we recommend an ultrasound if the infant is < 4 months of age or an anteroposterior pelvis radiograph if > 4 months of age.

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