Hip Dysplasia in Babies

Hip dysplasia in babies is a situation in which the union between the torso and legs is difficult, but can be corrected in time to prevent future hip problems in the baby.

This situation affects every 3 of 1,000 children, often affects the left hip more, is more common in girls and there is a genetic predisposition.

Hip dysplasia or congenital hip dislocation as it was also known, is a malformation that babies present. This is due to the abnormal development of the joint that joins the femur with the pelvis and fails to make them fit well.

Early diagnosis of this malformation is vital to begin treatment on time and avoid future long-term problems such as lameness or scoliosis, which is an abnormal curvature of the spine. Scoliosis occurs because the body tries to compensate for the weight between both legs.

Detecting hip dysplasia before 3 months, elevates the success of the treatment and its evolution, solving the problem without major difficulty.

Currently the two terms are used, but have different meanings, dysplasia refers to, when the head of the femur is partially outside the acetabulum of the pelvis, while congenital dislocation refers to, when the entire head of the femur is outside of the hip

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How to know if your baby has hip dysplasia?

In newborns it is very difficult to know, because the symptoms are very mild and it is actually the pediatrician, through specific checkups, who can determine whether or not there is hip dysplasia.

Generally these physical exams are routine in medical consultations, in the medical examination of the hip the doctor will check if:

  1. The baby has difficulty moving one leg compared to the other.
    2. Detects some hollow sound like a “click” during the hip check. This movement should only be done by doctors.
    3. One leg is longer than the other.
    4. The normal folds in the groin of one leg are very asymmetrical versus the other leg.

Risk Factors for Hip Dysplasia in Babies

  1. Large babies, above 4 thousand grams at birth.
    2. Mom’s hypertension.
    3. Multiple pregnancies.
    4. Low levels of amniotic fluid.
    5. The posture of the baby’s buttocks during pregnancy, as it favors that the head of the femur is kept outside the pelvis.

Diagnosis of Dysplasia

The pediatrician, who is the doctor specializing in children, will perform the Ortolani and Barlow maneuvers to detect dysplasia.

It is a series of movements, flexing and opening the baby’s legs very gently, if a dislocation is suspected, an ultrasound should be ordered to confirm the diagnosis.

The Ortolani maneuver, through rotations of the joint, helps to check for dislocation. On the other hand, the Barlow maneuver helps determine the possibility of a dislocation.

 

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