Early surgical correction of residual hip dysplasia: the San Diego Children's Hospital approach.

Published online: Sep 27 1999

D R Wenger, and S L Frick.

Department of Orthopedics, Children's Hospital San Diego, University of California 92123, USA.


Studies of the etiology of premature osteoarthritis of the hip show that the most common cause is residual childhood hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is often asymptomatic in childhood, making detection difficult and creating complex treatment decisions (major surgery in the asymptomatic child). Symptoms do not develop typically until the teenage or early adult years, and surgical correction at this age is often incomplete and complicated. In contrast, if the dysplasia is recognized early, surgical correction can be performed using simpler osteotomies with more predictable results. Our experience with children, adolescents and adults with residual hip dysplasia has led us to adopt a philosophy of early surgical correction which seeks to normalize hip joint morphology by age 5 or 6 years. The reasoning, methods and early results of this approach are reviewed in this paper.