Research Management of Neglected Traumatic Hip Dislocation in Children

Management of Neglected Traumatic Hip Dislocation in Children

Management of Neglected Traumatic Hip Dislocation in Children



Neglected traumatic hip dislocation in children is uncommon and there is no consensus on appropriate management. Previous studies report varied operative management with high rates of avascular necrosis and postoperative subluxation/dislocation. We report a series of 7 consecutive cases who underwent operative reduction after neglected hip dislocation and describe our technique for treatment.


All 7 children sustained posterior dislocations and had no treatment before presentation at our institution. An associated marginal acetabular fracture was present in 2 cases. One additional patient was excluded from the study due to complete loss of articular cartilage that precluded open reduction. The mean time before surgical intervention was 13.1 months (4 to 36 mo) with a mean age of 7 years (5.3 to 10.8 y). All children underwent preoperative skeletal traction for 10 to 14 days. A postero-lateral approach was used in all cases. The acetabulum was cleared of scar tissue and a femoral shortening performed as required (5 cases). Minor erosion of the articular cartilage of the posterior aspect of the femoral head was noted in 3/6 cases. After reduction, a posterior capsulorrhaphy was performed and the patient immobilized in a hip spica for 6 to 12 weeks.


The mean follow-up was 44 months (33 to 56 mo). The majority of children (86%) could walk and run without a limp, could squat, and had no pain. One child had mild pain and a limp. Mean Harris Hip Score was 98.9. No hip subluxed or dislocated postoperatively. The radiographs at latest follow-up showed no evidence of growth disturbance in 29% of cases, coxa magna in 57%, and partial femoral head collapse in 1 case (14%). Of note, those patients managed within 8 months of injury had none or minimal evidence of growth disturbance.


At medium-term follow-up, open reduction with a postero-lateral approach, posterior capsulorrhaphy, and femoral shortening (as required) produces a satisfactory outcome with a stable, congruent reduction. Good clinical function can be expected with a low incidence of avascular necrosis.

Level of Evidence:

Level IV.