Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip | Testing and Diagnosis

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Contact the Child and Adult Hip Preservation Program

  • 617-355-6021
  • International: +1-617-355-5209
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At Boston Children’s Hospital, we know that the first step to treating your child’s hip dysplasia is to form a complete and accurate diagnosis. Your child’s doctor will do a physical exam—the doctor can often feel the ball popping in and out of the socket. The doctor will also take a family history (including any hip problems in your family) and may use diagnostic tests to get detailed images of your child’s hip joint.

Typical tests can include:

•   Ultrasound (sonogram): a painless, non-invasive imaging technique that looks inside your child's body without the
    use of radiation. Ultrasound is the preferred way to diagnose hip dysplasia in babies up to 6 months of age. It uses
    high-frequency sound waves to create pictures of organs, bones, tissues and blood vessels.

•   X-ray: diagnostic radiology that shows the dense structures—including bones—inside your child’s body. After a
    child is 6 months of age, x-rays are the more reliable test for her, because additional calcium coming into the head
    of the femur interferes with the accuracy of the ultrasound imaging. X-rays are also used to diagnose hip dysplasia
    in older children, adolescents and adults.

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- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

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