Diagnosing newborns in the UK

“Newborn Hip Checks Have Failed to Prevent Late Diagnosis”

This was a recent headline on BBC News in England. https://www.bbc.com/news/health-47735103 A research paper published by an IHDI Physician showed that the rate of late diagnosis has not changed in 35 years. This is in spite of a national health service and wide use of ultrasound for babies at higher risk for hip dysplasia; such as families with positive family history or breech births. During the period of the study approximately 30 children per year weren’t diagnosed until after the age of one year. That doesn’t count the children detected after six weeks of age when treatment is only half as successful as hip dislocations found before six weeks of age. An IHDI study published in 2016 showed one in four children with a dislocated hip wasn’t diagnosed until after the age of six weeks.

This recent report from England emphasizes that current methods of early diagnosis have clearly failed. Physical exam of the newborn, even by experienced physicians, is not as reliable as once thought. Professor Ortolani described the technique for newborn examination in 1948 and many pediatricians have learned to perform this examination skillfully. However, in Professor Ortolani’s book he stated that only mild hip dislocations that can be placed back into the socket can be detected. He specifically noted that the dislocation signs, “…in serious cases, they are seldom noticeable”. This is because the hip is trapped outside the socket so there is no sensation of the hip going into and out of the socket.

It is clear that improved methods of diagnosis are needed. Comprehensive ultrasound studies are expensive and time consuming to perform for every infant. However, IHDI is investigating newer technological advances that may assist the examiner by “listening” to the sounds of a normal or abnormal hip, or by using simpler ultrasound methods at the bedside with an APP for a hand-held mobile device.

You can help by supporting development of new technology and by being aware that all hip dislocations cannot be detected by physical examination alone.

« Back
  • Call to Action Buttons

  • Email Sign Up

    Email Sign Up
  • Social Media Links

  • Translate Link

    Para ver en Español Click Aquí

  • SubNav Menu

  • Hippo CTA

  • Child CTA

  • Latest News

    Latest News

    Submit a Story

    Cannabis Compounds and Hip Dysplasia

    Jun 24

    Considering Cannabis Compounds for Hip Dysplasia Treatment? The...

    Should you wait to have a PAO until your arthritis...

    May 30

    There is often a question of how long it’s safe to postpone PAO surg...

    Book Review V2

    May 29

    Hip Dysplasia Books and Resources Betsy Miller IHDI Advisory C...

  • Latest Stories

    Latest Stories

    Submit a Story


    Jun 19

     My Hip Dysplasia story is unusual because it isn't even mine. I...


    Jun 12

    About two years ago, my 17 year old son started experiencing moderate ...


    Jun 10

    I was born with bilateral hip dysplasia. My left hip is worse then my ...