Adult Diagnosis

An x-ray can identify hip dysplasia by the shallow socket (acetabulum). Clicking, popping, or limping may occasionally lead to the diagnosis of hip dysplasia. It may also be discovered on an x-ray taken for other reasons. Painless hip dysplasia may be left over from childhood dysplasia.

Surgery is customarily recommended only if the hip is painful. The dysplastic hip will eventually wear out and become painful, but it may be difficult to predict when that day will come. Weight loss and lifestyle modification can reduce wear and tear on the joint.

Hip Dysplasia X-ray in 29 year old female
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Bilateral hip dysplasia in a 29 year old female.
Normal hips in an elderly female.  No hip dysplasia
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Normal hips in an elderly female.

Determining Severity

Different types of imaging studies may be used in the diagnosis of hip dysplasia.

Center Edge Angle of the hip joint
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Center-Edge Angle

X-rays can determine the severity of dysplasia, which helps to establish the need for surgery. There are several ways that the amount of dysplasia can be measured on x-rays.

A common measurement for the depth of the socket is the center-edge angle (C-E angle). The normal C-E angle is 25° or more. X-rays also show whether hips are also displaced in an upward direction; this information is valuable because hips that are displaced upward usually wear out faster than hips that are not displaced upward.

An MRI may also be helpful to diagnose hip dysplasia and give the physician information on any damage to the cartilage and labrum.

Hips that are more dysplastic may benefit from preventative surgery rather than waiting for the hip to become arthritic.


Continue to Adult Treatment for Hip Dysplasia »

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