Hip dysplasia is the medical term for a hip socket that doesn't fully cover the ball portion of the upper thighbone. Most people with hip dysplasia are born with the condition. If hip dysplasia is diagnosed in early infancy, a brace can usually correct the problem. Some people with hip dysplasia don't develop symptoms until later in life. In those cases, surgery may eventually be needed to reduce pain and improve function.

  • Experience. Mayo Clinic doctors diagnose and treat more than 100 cases of hip dysplasia each year.
  • Advanced techniques. Mayo Clinic is one of the few centers in the U.S. with more than 20 years of experience with surgical procedures that reposition the hip socket to correct hip dysplasia.
  • Team approach. Specialists in orthopedic surgery, sports medicine, and physical medicine and rehabilitation work together to identify your problem and find a solution.
  • Efficient care. At Mayo Clinic, you can be evaluated for hip dysplasia and receive test results and a surgery date within one to two days.

Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., are ranked among the Best Hospitals for orthopedics by U.S. News & World Report. Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., is ranked high performing for orthopedics by U.S. News & World Report.

At Mayo Clinic, we assemble a team of specialists who take the time to listen and thoroughly understand your health issues and concerns. We tailor the care you receive to your personal health care needs. You can trust our specialists to collaborate and offer you the best possible outcomes, safety and service.

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Mayo Clinic works with hundreds of insurance companies and is an in-network provider for millions of people. In most cases, Mayo Clinic doesn't require a physician referral. Some insurers require referrals or may have additional requirements for certain medical care. All appointments are prioritized on the basis of medical need.

Specialists in orthopedic surgery at Mayo Clinic in Arizona perform hip dysplasia surgery. Depending on the treatment you receive, specialists in physical medicine and rehabilitation, rheumatology and sports medicine may be involved in your care.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 800-446-2279 (toll-free) 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mountain Standard Time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

Specialists in orthopedic surgery at Mayo Clinic in Florida perform hip dysplasia surgery. Depending on the treatment you receive, specialists in physical medicine and rehabilitation, rheumatology and sports medicine also may be involved in your care.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 904-953-0853 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

Specialists in orthopedic surgery at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota perform hip dysplasia surgery. Depending on the treatment you receive, specialists in physical medicine and rehabilitation, rheumatology and sports medicine also may be involved in your care. A Young Hip Clinic helps coordinate care for young people experiencing hip pain.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 507-538-3270 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

See information on patient services at the three Mayo Clinic locations, including transportation options and lodging.

During well-baby visits, doctors typically check for hip dysplasia by moving an infant's legs into a variety of positions that help indicate whether the hip joint fits together well. Mild cases of hip dysplasia can be difficult to diagnose. If your doctor suspects hip dysplasia, he or she might also suggest imaging tests, such as X-rays or ultrasound.

At Mayo Clinic, tests are scheduled quickly and results are usually available on the same day or within 24 hours. Efficient testing helps Mayo specialists quickly arrive at a diagnosis so your treatment can begin as soon as possible.

Symptoms

Signs and symptoms vary by age group. In infants, you might notice that one leg is longer than the other. Once a child begins walking, a limp may develop. During diaper changes, one hip may be less flexible than the other.

If hip dysplasia is not corrected during infancy, the problem can worsen and may lead to early osteoarthritis.

Causes

Hip dysplasia tends to run in families and is more common in girls. The risk of hip dysplasia is also higher in babies born in the breech position.

Hip dysplasia treatment depends on the age of the affected person and the extent of the hip damage. Infants are usually treated with a brace that holds the ball portion of the joint firmly in its socket for several months. This helps the socket mold to the shape of the ball.

The brace doesn't work as well for babies older than 6 months. Instead, the doctor may move the bones into the proper position and then hold them there for several months with a full-body cast. Sometimes surgery is needed to fit the joint together properly.

Modify the angle of the bones

Older children and adults usually require surgery to correct the damage caused by hip dysplasia. In some cases, a wedge of bone can be removed from the thighbone to help shift the position of the ball portion of the joint. In periacetabular (pair-e-as-uh-TAB-u-lur) osteotomy, the socket is cut free from the pelvis and then repositioned so it matches up better with the ball.

Periacetabular osteotomy requires a high level of surgical expertise. Mayo surgeons have performed hundreds of these procedures.

Hip replacement

If dysplasia has severely damaged your hip, Mayo Clinic specialists may recommend hip replacement surgery. Younger people tend to wear out a hip replacement faster than older people. If you're young and active, you may need another hip replacement in 15 or 20 years.

Specialists in Mayo Clinic's laboratories for Biomechanics and Motion Analysis are working to improve treatment of hip dysplasia. Doctors in the Young Hip Clinic also conduct research. Researchers are particularly interested in determining whether fixing the hip mechanics will prevent the need for a hip replacement later in life.

Mayo publications

See a list of publications by Mayo authors on hip dysplasia on PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine.

Nov. 19, 2012