Complications of Hip Dysplasia

Complications of Hip Dysplasia

You may think of your bones as hard structures in your body. However, it takes time for them to get that way. 

At birth, many bones are composed entirely of cartilage — a tough type of tissue for certain, but also quite flexible. As you might expect, that’s so a baby can curl up inside the womb and pass through the birth canal during delivery.

This flexibility makes the birth cycle possible, but it’s also the primary cause of hip dysplasia. And one in 1,000 babies has the condition from birth. Unfortunately, without treatment, hip dysplasia can cause a variety of complications, including debilitating pain.

Dr. Eric E. Johnson performs corrective procedures for hip dysplasia in adults and teenagers at his prestigious practice in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles. If you have hip dysplasia, here’s why you shouldn’t ignore your condition.

Understanding hip dysplasia

As we mentioned above, you typically can’t avoid this condition because it happens during development in the womb. 

Hip dysplasia occurs when the ball portion of the hip joint isn’t firmly seated in the socket portion of the pelvis. So, instead of a secure fit when the soft cartilage hardens into bone, you end up with a socket that can’t fully form, making it too shallow to hold the ball in place.

These alignment issues often occur in the final month of pregnancy, as womb space becomes increasingly scarce. This crowding can push the hip joint out of its ideal position, resulting in a more shallow socket. Then, the cartilage hardens, making the poor alignment permanent.

Hip dysplasia typically runs in families, and Dr. Johnson sees it more often with girls. Other factors that can increase the chances of hip dysplasia include:

When handling babies, you should also avoid wrapping them too tightly to reduce the risk of hip dysplasia after birth.

Why you shouldn’t ignore hip dysplasia

On the surface, hip dysplasia may not seem like a huge issue. However, our joints fit together in specific ways for a reason, so complications can arise when they aren’t in alignment.

Hip dysplasia can cause serious problems in the long run, including:

Though doctors check newborns for signs of hip dysplasia, it can go undetected until complications arise later in life. Fortunately, there are ways to treat hip dysplasia, whether you receive a diagnosis at birth or as an adult.

Treating hip dysplasia

The good news is that a special brace or harness can often correct hip dysplasia in babies under six months of age. This approach works to hold the hip joint in its proper position as the child grows. However, surgery often provides the best results for teens and adults with the condition.

Dr. Johnson specializes in orthopaedic surgery, and he might recommend various solutions if you have hip dysplasia. One treatment involves an acetabular osteotomy

An acetabular osteotomy procedure corrects the alignment in the hip joint by reshaping the pelvic bone around the hip socket and repositioning the ball in its “seat.” Then, Dr. Johnson secures the joint in its new and proper position with three or four screws. As you heal, new bone grows in the treatment site, which helps fuse the hip socket firmly in the pelvis.

For older patients with severe damage from hip dysplasia, Dr. Johnson might recommend hip replacement surgery. This treatment relieves pain and restores hip function by replacing the entire joint with artificial components. 

A hip replacement may seem overwhelming, but Dr. Johnson uses the most modern and advanced techniques, including an anterior approach. That means you can find relief for your symptoms with faster recoveries, less tissue damage, fewer risks, and less pain than hip replacements of the past.

In an ideal world, the sooner you find solutions for hip dysplasia, the better to avoid severe joint damage. However, Dr. Johnson can help at any stage of your condition.

Do you have hip pain or signs of hip dysplasia? Schedule a consultation with Eric E. Johnson, MD, in Westwood, Los Angeles, today.

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