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J Bone Joint Surg Br. 1996 Jul;78(4):636-40.

Hip abnormalities detected by ultrasound in clinically normal newborn infants.

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Trondheim University Hospital, Norway.


We have followed the natural progress of newborn infants in whom ultrasound examination showed abnormalities in hips which appeared to be clinically normal. Over six years we saw 306 such children out of 9952 examined (31 per 1000 live births). The examination was repeated at two to three months and those who still showed an abnormality were followed up further. At four to five months a standard radiograph was obtained, and treatment began if this and another ultrasound scan were both abnormal. At this stage, 291 infants had normal hips. In the 15 infants with abnormal hips there was no pronounced deterioration, none developed a frank dislocation, and all became normal after treatment in an abduction splint. Newborn infants with abnormal and suspicious ultrasound findings who are normal on clinical examination do not need treatment from birth; most of these hips will settle spontaneously. Treatment can be postponed until the age of four to five months unless clinical instability develops or ultrasound shows dislocation. The criteria for treatment should be based on measurements by both ultrasound and radiography: both should show an abnormality before intervention is considered necessary.

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