It is distressing when a young child needs a lot of medical treatment, and as a parent who is just hearing about hip dysplasia for the first time, you no doubt have a lot of questions. One of your main concerns will be whether hip dysplasia automatically means that your child needs orthopaedic surgery. The following information covers the basic points that you need to know right now.
What Is Hip Dysplasia?
As a quick recap on what your paediatric doctor has already told you, hip dysplasia is the medical terminology that describes an issue with your child’s hip joints. The hip joint ball or the socket is restricting the movement of your child’s legs at the hip, and left untreated it will inhibit their ability to walk with ease.
The age at which your child was diagnosed with their hip dysplasia is going to answer the question about whether surgery is the only answer. Treatment is broken down by three age groups:
- Under six months old: The treatment for this age group involves the use of a brace, such as the Pavlik harness. This device makes sure your baby’s legs are kept in the right position while the rest of the leg grows the muscle strength needed to keep the hip joints in position as the child ages.
- Between six and 12 months old: When a child gets to this age, it may be necessary for the child to have surgery, which is then followed by the wearing of a more restrictive brace. The surgery will place the hip back in the correct position, and the brace will reduce movement so the hip joint has a chance to get used to its proper position. The decision about whether surgery is needed at this stage will depend on the outcome of medical testing to see how much damage has already been done to this area.
- Over 1 year old: Surgery performed by an orthopaedic surgeon is likely. Over the course of just one year, the scar tissue grown in the hip joint area can stop the ball and socket from ever assuming their correct position without medical intervention taking place. The older the child is at diagnosis, the more medical treatment is going to be required, as is shown in the case of Jaimianne Smith.
As you can see, hip dysplasia does not automatically mean your child needs surgery, but the earlier the diagnosis of this condition, the less surgically invasive the treatment options are. No matter what course of treatment is required, your child will cope best when enveloped by the loving care of their parents. Make sure that you ask a doctor like Dr Jonathan Herald anything you need to know to put your mind at ease. This knowledge will help to ease the worry you are feeling at this time.Read More