Congenital Dislocation of the Hip: A Review

Henry H. Sherk, Patrick S. Pasquariello, William C. Watters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Congenital dislocation of the hip usually results from capsular stretching caused by fetal malposition and crouching late in the third trimester. Early recognition of hip dislocation or instability soon after birth permits prompt treatment. Ortolani's and Barlow's maneuvers, respectively, reduce into and displace from the acetabulum a femoral head that is insecurely contained therein. The diagnosis of CDH in the first month of life usually depends on these clinical components of the physical examination of the newborn, because radiologic findings are undependable at this time. The Pavlik harness, or similar device, in this age group can usually maintain the displaced hip in sufficient flexion and abduction to permit reduction and normal development. By 3 months of age, the nuclei of the pelvis and upper femur have ossified enough to permit radiologic diagnosis of CDH. Problems related to treatment increase as the child grows older. In infants up to 6 months of age, closed methods with a harness usually succeed. Beyond 6 months, the soft tissues shorten and prevent easy reduction. These patients almost always require pre-reduction traction. An adductor tenotomy also facilitates reduction and apparently lessens compressive forces on the femoral head, an important consideration in preventing avascular necrosis of the head. Children over 1 year old develop bony changes, such as excessive femoral valgus and antever sion and deformity of the acetabulum. Treatment in these patients requires realignment of bony deformities with femoral or pelvic osteotomies in addi tion to the measures noted previously. The gentleness and high success rate of early treatment make early diagnosis of CDH an important consideration in infants and newborns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)513-520
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Pediatrics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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