Infant hip dysplasia is usually a naturally occurring condition which is akin to an adult hip dislocation occurring during or shortly after birth. Failure to recognise the problem by healthcare professionals including doctors and nurses may amount to medical negligence which can attract substantial compensation as the effects of this condition in later life can be severe. Our hip dysplasia solicitors deal with compensation claims using both legal aid and the no win no fee* scheme. Legal aid is available to most children with no parental contribution no matter their assets and income. Please contact us for help pursuing your claim.

Hip Dysplasia Infirmation

Infant hip dysplasia is basically the same as hip dislocation in a newborn or slightly older baby. The dislocation is not often complete but goes in an out with infant movement. Untreated hip dysplasia can lead to difficulties walking and arthritic changes in the hip. It is up to the doctor or doctors treating the normal newborn to screen for hip dysplasia so as to use certain kinds of treatment to fix the problem.

Pay attention to the newborn examination or to the examination of a very young baby. The doctor will draw up the knees and will perform a maneuver that spreads out the knees and widens the hip joint. It is a test that rolls out the hips and allows the doctor to feel for the presence of a "click" in the hip area consistent with infant hip dysplasia. If no click is heard or felt, there is likely no hip dysplasia and the baby is normal.

Congenital hip dysplasia is more common in girls, in babies who are first born, in babies who are born by Cesarean section and in babies born in the breech presentation, particularly in the frank breech position. The diagnosis is usually made in the newborn exam but can be made later in a baby's life. It is better to diagnose the hip dysplasia early in a baby's life because it can be more easily treated if caught early. Diagnosis after the baby begins to walk makes for complicated and difficult treatment that doesn't always work.

After the doctor diagnoses a possible hip dysplasia on exam, the doctor will order X rays that will determine whether or not the hip actually dislocates. An ultrasound examination can do the same thing. Ultrasound testing is the best testing in newborn babies because infant babies have such soft bones that they don't show up on X rays. If the dislocation is noted, there needs to be treatment of the condition that varies from doctor to doctor and from infant to infant.

A Pavlok harness is the most common way babies are managed with hip dysplasia. It is worn for 22 hours out of every day or can be used the entire day. It is a harness that holds up the legs so the hip sockets aren't dislocated. It allows the joint capsule to be formed around a hip joint that is in place. The Pavlok harness is soft and made from cloth and Velcro but it isn't very comfortable for the infant and the infant often cries from the discomfort of the sling. This can be very hard for the infant and the parents, too. If the Pavlok harness doesn't treat the hip dysplasia after a few months, the doctor may have to remove the harness and use a Spica cast.

The spica cast is actually a cast that is placed on the infant with a hole for the diaper area. The knees are drawn up and out and the hip is kept in the best position to form a capsule around the dislocated joint. It is much more invasive than a Pavlok harness and involves a cast running from the chest to the lower legs of the infant. The infant is unable to squirm or wriggle and they feel very uncomfortable when wearing it. It is worn for several months and allows the bones to grow in the proper position. Sometimes, even this does not work and further measures need to be taken to heal the hip joint and make it so the hip joint does not dislocate.

Surgery is the final step in the treatment of infant hip dysplasia. Hip surgery, while painful and invasive, can do a lot to fix the problem. The child wears a spica cast after the surgery is over with for 2-3 months and then the child graduates to a Pavlok harness for a few more months. This altogether a difficult way to treat the problem but it helps the child eventually walk and it makes them free from walking with arthritic hips in early childhood.

Hip Dysplasia Solicitors

Thousands of clinical compensation claims are initiated every year in the United Kingdom by medical negligence solicitors on behalf of people from all walks of life. A multitude of operations and procedures are executed successfully however a small percentage do go wrong, laying the grounds for medical negligence solicitors to take legal action in order to claim compensation. Both legal aid and the no win no fee* scheme are available to pursue medical negligence compensation claims. If you would like advice from a hip dysplacia solicitor at no cost and with no further obligation just call our helpline.



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The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here