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Acta Orthop Scand. 1997 Dec;68(6):527-32.

Ultrasonography of clinically unstable hips. A prospective study of 143 neonates at birth and early follow-up.

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Department of Orthopedics, Trondheim University Hospital, Norway.


We evaluated the ability of ultrasonography to reduce the treatment rate of hips with clinical instability or uncertain findings at birth. Among 9,514 live births during the period 1988-1990, unstable hips were detected in 143 neonates by the Ortolani and Barlow tests, whereas the physical examination was inconclusive in 59 cases. These 202 neonates were also examined by ultrasound and instability was confirmed in 108 neonates who were treated with the Frejka pillow. The mean femoral head coverage (FHC) was 37%, indicating slight subluxation in the majority of unstable hips. The remaining 94 infants had normal ultrasonographic findings and were not treated. Their mean FHC was 53% and all these hips developed normally, except in 2 girls, who were treated with an abduction splint from age 4-5 months because subluxation developed. We conclude that ultrasound improved the reliability of the neonatal hip evaluation, thus markedly reducing the number of treated infants. Sonography also reduced the use of radiography during followup.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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