Hip Dysplasia | Treatments

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Contact the Child and Young Adult Hip Preservation Program

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A variety of treatment options are available for adolescents and young adults with hip dysplasia. At Boston Children’s, our treatment goal is to preserve the hip joint as long as possible.

Non-surgical options for hip dysplasia

Non-surgical treatment—which includes steroid injections, anti-inflammatory medication and physical therapy—may be appropriate for patients with very mild cases of hip dysplasia.

Patients with very severe hip dysplasia whose joints have been significantly damaged and whose only treatment option is hip replacement may opt for non-surgical treatment as an interim step prior to hip replacement.   

Surgical treatment for hip dysplasia

Periacetabular osteotomy (PAO) is the main surgical treatment for adolescents and young adults with hip dysplasia who experience pain and have limited cartilage damage.

The goals of PAO are to:

•    reduce or eliminate pain
•    restore function
•    maximize the function of the patient’s hip

In this procedure, the surgeon makes a series of cuts to rotate the socket into proper position and inserts metal screws to hold it in place. These screws are usually removed in an outpatient procedure four to 12 months after PAO surgery. PAO may serve as a lifelong treatment if performed before hip arthritis progresses.

Physical therapy usually begins the day after surgery and starts with range-of-motion exercises. The physical therapist assists the patient with walking in parallel bars and then with crutches. Patients are discharged with a home exercise program. Strength returns gradually after surgery. Most patients need to use crutches for three months after PAO.

After the PAO has healed, we encourage patients to return to the highest level of reasonable activity that the hip joint allows. However, overuse injuries can occur. Pounding activities like running may be discouraged.

PAO may be combined with hip arthroscopy to treat the labral tear (a tear in the cartilage surrounding the hip joint) that occurs in some patients with hip dysplasia. In this minimally invasive operation, the surgeon works inside the joint to repair the tear.

Patient support

Our patient and family support group consists of patients and families with hip disorders. Our former patients and their families provide current patients and families with important supplemental educational information as well as emotional support. Please ask your care team to connect you if you would like to know more.

We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

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