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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Hip and Knee

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Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia is often called Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip (DDH). This is a relatively common abnormality in the shape of the hip joint. As the names suggests the abnormality originated at the time of birth or early childhood. More severe abnormalities are usually picked up early in life but milder forms may not be noticed for many years until symptoms occur.

DDH is the most common developmental hip deformity causing symptoms in adults and is one of the most common causes of osteoarthritis in the hip.

Most frequently the acetabulum (hip socket) is very shallow. This means that the femoral head is 'uncovered' and there is an increased load and pressure on the rim of the socket. This excess pressure caused by the femoral head on the rim of the acetabulum damages the cartilage and leads to osteoarthritis.

Diagram showing dysplasia of the hip

Treatment is tailored to each individual depending on the severity of symptoms and deformity.

If surgery is required and the articular cartilage (lining) of the joint is still alright then there are operations to try and deepen the acetabulum (acetabuloplasty) by either augmenting the socket (Shelf acetabuloplasty) or reorientating the socket (Ganz or Periacetabuloplasty).

If the cartilage is badly damaged then hip replacement surgery may be offered.