Universal or selective screening of the neonatal hip using ultrasound? A prospective, randomised trial of 15,529 newborn infants

J Bone Joint Surg Br. 2002 Aug;84(6):886-90. doi: 10.1302/0301-620x.84b6.12093.


The aim of this study was to evaluate whether universal (all neonates) or selective (neonates belonging to the risk groups) ultrasound screening of the hips should be recommended at birth. We carried out a prospective, randomised trial between 1988 and 1992, including all newborn infants at our hospital. A total of 15 529 infants was randomised to either clinical screening and ultrasound examination of all hips or clinical screening of all hips and ultrasound examination only of those at risk. The effect of the screening was assessed by the rate of late detection of congenital or developmental hip dysplasia in the two groups. During follow-up of between six and 11 years, only one late-detected hip dysplasia was seen in the universal group, compared with five in the subjective group, representing a rate of 0.13 and 0.65 per 1,000, respectively. The difference in late detection between the two groups was not statistically significant (p = 0.22). When clinical screening is of high quality, as in our study, the effect of an additional ultrasound examination, measured as late-presenting hip dysplasia, is marginal. Under such circumstances, we consider that universal ultrasound screening is not necessary, but recommend selective ultrasound screening for neonates with abnormal or suspicious clinical findings and those with risk factors for hip dysplasia.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Female
  • Hip / abnormalities*
  • Hip / diagnostic imaging*
  • Hip Dislocation, Congenital / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Joint Instability / diagnostic imaging*
  • Male
  • Neonatal Screening / methods*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Ultrasonography