Developmental dysplasia of the hip: addressing evidence gaps with a multicentre prospective international study

Emily K Schaeffer, IHDI Study Group and Kishore Mulpuri
Med J Aust 2018; 208 (8): . || doi: 10.5694/mja18.00154
Published online: 7 May 2018



  • There is a lack of high quality evidence available to guide clinical practice in the treatment and management of developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH).
  • Evidence has been limited by persistent confusion on diagnostic and classification terminology, variability in surgeon decision making and a reliance on single centre, retrospective studies with small patient numbers.
  • To address gaps in knowledge regarding screening, diagnosis and management of DDH, the International Hip Dysplasia Institute began a multicentre, international prospective study on infants with hips dislocated at rest.
  • This review discusses the current state of screening, diagnostic and management practices in DDH and addresses important unanswered questions that will be critical in identifying best practices and optimising patient outcomes.
  • There is insufficient evidence to support universal ultrasound screening; instead, selective screening should be performed by 6–8 weeks of age on infants with risk factors of breech presentation, family history, or history of clinical hip instability. Follow-up of infants with risk factors and normal initial screening should be considered to at least 6 months of age.
  • Brace treatment is a sensible first-line treatment for management of dislocated hips at rest in infants < 6 months of age.
  • Early operative reduction may be considered as there is insufficient evidence to support a protective role for the ossific nucleus in the development of avascular necrosis.


  • Emily K Schaeffer1,2
  • IHDI Study Group3
  • Kishore Mulpuri1

  • 1 BC Children's Hospital, Vancouver, Canada
  • 2 University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
  • 3 Orlando Health Center, Orlando, FL, USA



We thank members of the IHDI Study Group for their intellectual and data contributions to the IHDI and IHDR studies; and Niamul Quader for supplying the image and data for Box 3.

Competing interests:

We have received funding for research support from the registry seed grant, the IHDI, the Children’s Hospital Research Institute and the I'm a HIPpy Foundation.


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