Prevention of congenital dislocation of the hip. The Swedish experience of neonatal treatment of hip joint instability

Acta Orthop Scand Suppl. 1984:208:1-107.


The extensive work on early diagnosis and treatment of CDH (in the broad sense of this term) in Sweden has formed the basis of our present organization of prevention of hip dislocation. Practically all children are born in hospital, at present about 93,000 per year (1980). Routine examination of the hip joints has been included in the check-ups of newborns since the beginning of the 1950's. The centralization of obstetrics, especially during the last decade, has facilitated the organization of these examinations by paediatric consultants in all obstetric departments. All cases of hip joint instability are recorded, and during the last few years the frequency has been about 12 per thousand, probably with some over-diagnosis due to registration of uncertain cases. All definite cases of hip instability have been treated immediately at the orthopaedic departments. A study of a series of untreated newborns with transient instability has shown that the majority, but not all, will develop normal hip joints without treatment. This has been one reason for the recommendation to treat all unequivocal cases of hip instability. The present organization of examination and treatment is described. Detailed and practical instructions for the examination and treatment are given. Follow-ups of children treated for hip instability in the neonatal period are reported. It has been found that in practically all these patients anatomically normal hip joints are achieved by means of correct and carefully followed up treatment. The findings in 65 patients with neonatal hip instability in whom the treatment was unsuccessful or inadequate have underlined the importance of a strict treatment schedule, experienced doctors and detailed information to the parents. The effect of diagnosis and treatment of hip instability neonatally on the frequency of late-diagnosed cases of CDH was studied by recording all late-diagnosed cases at all orthopaedic departments. It was clear from the latter study that instability of the hip in newborns represents "preluxation" and that the treatment of this can prevent later dislocation. Dislocation of the hip joint in newborn infants is very unusual. Nowadays it is rare even after the neonatal period--in recent years only 12% of the late-diagnosed CDH cases between 1 and 6 months of age at diagnosis. However, the total number of late-diagnosed cases in the whole country has not decreased by more than 50% compared with the period prior to the introduction of hip examination of newborns.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hip Dislocation, Congenital / diagnosis
  • Hip Dislocation, Congenital / prevention & control*
  • Hip Dislocation, Congenital / therapy
  • Hip Joint* / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Joint Instability / diagnosis
  • Joint Instability / genetics
  • Joint Instability / therapy*
  • Male
  • Splints
  • Sweden
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed