Ensuring your baby’s well-being
We offer a specialist baby hip clinic service for screening of babies at risk of Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip (DDH).
Ultrasound is the gold standard for detecting hip problems in babies under 6 months old. Our service provides both an ultrasound and clinical assessment. It is provided by a Consultant Paediatric Orthopaedic Surgeon (Mr Bridgens), a Consultant Paediatric Radiologist (Dr Kraft) and specialist sonographer (Sarah Townsend).
The service is provided in collaboration between “this is my” (a specialist ultrasound and health screening centre) and Leeds Paediatric Orthopaedics. It is the only private clinic in the UK offering a multidisciplinary assessment of this type. It also is unique in its pricing structure which gives parents the assurance that if any problems are detected treatment can be started on the same day.
Should I be worried about my baby’s hips?
Hip problems in babies (such as a dislocated or dysplastic hips) are not common but are easily missed and become much more difficult to treat as children get older. All newborn babies should have an examination of their hips before they leave hospital. If this is abnormal, or if the baby is in a high risk group (family history or breech at 36 weeks), they should have an ultrasound scan. This should be within days if the hip is thought to be dislocated or at 4 weeks old if it is because they are in a high risk group.
What is DDH?
DDH stands for Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip. DDH includes a range of congenital hip problems (this means problems you are born with). At the worse end of the scale the hip joint can be completely dislocated, or it may only be shallower than expected (‘dysplastic’). Even if the hip is completely dislocated it is not painful for the baby.
How common is developmental dysplasia of the hip?
DDH occurs in about 1 in 1,000 babies. It is more common in the left hip. This is thought to be due to the fact that most unborn babies lie against the mother’s spine on their left side. This position may put more pressure on the left hip and cause it to develop abnormally more often than the right one. In about 2 in 10 cases, DDH affects both hips.
What are the risk factors for DDH?
- Family history – a relative with a history of hip problems as a baby
- Breech position at 36 weeks
- Oligohydramnios (low level of fluid in the womb during pregnancy)
- Foot abnormalities at birth
- First born, female sex
What are the symptoms and signs of developmental dysplasia of the hip?
Remember, a newborn baby with DDH is not distressed or in pain. Soon after birth, most babies are examined by a hospital doctor or midwife for various commonly occurring problems; one of the problems the doctor is looking for is DDH. The doctor will bend the baby’s knees and turn the thighs outwards, a bit like opening a book. Whilst doing this, the doctor feels for a clunk, which feels similar to when a light switch is turned on. If the doctor feels this, then it may indicate that there is a problem with the hip.
Other signs of hip problems are:
- There may be less movement outwards of the affected hip (difficulty putting legs in a ‘frog’ position)
- If a baby has a dislocated hip the skin folds in the thigh will not look equal. This is a less reliable sign as many normal babies also have unequal skin folds just because they are chubby!
Examining babies’ hips is difficult. The baby needs to be out of its nappy and relaxed, not crying. Ideally, babies should be examined within 24 hours of birth, at the 6-week check, between 6-9 months of age, and at walking age.
Older children with DDH, who are walking, may have a limp. This should raise the suspicion of DDH. The child may also walk on its toes on the shorter side. However, it is not common for DDH to cause a delay in walking.
Early diagnosis IS important
If problems are picked up early (before 6 weeks), treatment with a ‘Pavlik harness’ is normally successful. However, we still see too many children diagnosed late (over 6 months old) with hip dislocation or dysplasia. At this age treatment is much more major either involving 4 months in a body plaster or surgery followed by 6 to 16 weeks in body plaster (spica).
What is Pavlik harness?
The Pavlik harness is a simple device used to keep the babies hips in a ‘frog’ position. This is the position in which the hips are most deeply seated in the socket. By being kept in this position the hips can develop and stabilise.
How we can help
We offer a truly ‘one stop’ clinic for parents who are concerned about their babies or children’s hips. It is provided by a specialist ultrasonographer, consultant paediatric radiologist and consultant paediatric orthopaedic surgeon. Whatever your question or concern you can be sure we will be able to answer it.
No GP referral needed
Parents can pay for a consultation and/or ultrasound scan. Uniquely in the UK we have set our prices so that in the unlikely event any problems are found further treatment and scans for the first 6 weeks are included. This means parents can be reassured that treatment can start immediately and under our specialist team.
Cost of Baby Hip Screening
The cost of our baby hip screening service is £210.
What this includes:
An ultrasound scan of babies hips and the opportunity to discuss with Consultant Radiologist.
Should any abnormalities be detected, or parents have any other concerns (eg a particularly strong family history), they can discuss this with our Consultant Paediatric Orthopaedic Surgeon.
If any problems are detected (eg hip dislocation or dysplasia) the cost of treatment in a Pavlik harness and ultrasound monitoring is included for the next six weeks. During this time parents can decide (and discuss with us) plans for further treatment.
How do I arrange an appointment?
We accept referrals from privately insured and self-funding clients.
If you are privately insured you will need a GP referral letter and to ensure your insurer will pay for care with thisismy.
If you wish to ‘self fund’ (pay for care yourself) we do not need a GP referral and you can simply book an appointment whenever is most convenient for you.