Financial justification for routine ultrasound screening of the neonatal hip

J Bone Joint Surg Br. 1999 Sep;81(5):852-7. doi: 10.1302/0301-620x.81b5.9746.


We have analysed the patterns of management of developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) in Coventry over a period of 20 years during which three different screening policies were used. From 1976 to the end of 1985 we relied on clinical examination alone. The mean surgical cost for the treatment of DDH during this period was Pound Sterling 5110 per 1000 live births. This was reduced to Pound Sterling 3811 after the introduction of ultrasound for infants with known risk factors. Since June 1989 we have routinely scanned all infants at birth with a mean surgical cost of Pound Sterling 468 per 1000 live births. This reduction in cost is a result of the earlier detection of DDH with fewer children requiring surgery. In those who do, fewer and less invasive procedures are needed. The overall rate of treatment has not increased and regular review of patients managed in a Pavlik harness has allowed us to avoid the complication of avascular necrosis. When we add the cost of running the screening programme to the expense of treating the condition, the overall cost for the management of DDH is comparable for the different screening policies.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Blood Transfusion / economics
  • Bone Screws / economics
  • Contrast Media / economics
  • Cost Control
  • Hip Dislocation, Congenital / diagnostic imaging*
  • Hip Dislocation, Congenital / economics*
  • Hip Dislocation, Congenital / therapy
  • Hospitalization / economics
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Neonatal Screening / economics*
  • Osteotomy / economics
  • Ultrasonography / economics*
  • United Kingdom


  • Contrast Media