Diagnosing Hip Dysplasia in Breech Babies

I recently received this unique question regarding hip dysplasia in breech babies:

My son was born via C-section because he was breech. My pediatrician asked me to do an ultrasound to make sure he doesn’t have hip dysplasia. I read that before the doctor asks you to go and spend so much money on an ultrasound, he should check to see if there is any kind of abnormality. Do I have to do the ultrasound? My pediatrician did not check the baby at all.

– Sigal

Hi Sigal:

At our clinic, it is common practice to obtain hip ultrasounds on all babies that are presented breech at delivery. We take this a step further and perform them if they are breech at any point during the third trimester (even if they happen to turn on their own).

That being said, we always perform a comprehensive evaluation of the hips after birth. We also continue to check the hips at each wellness check-up because hip dysplasia is a developmental process and can present later.

The incidence of hip dysplasia in infants with a breech presentation can be as high as 12-25%. So, although it may be a little expensive, an ultrasound is not a crazy recommendation. Untreated hip dysplasia can lead to hip problems later in life, such as hip pain/arthritis, gait problems, and possibly even a hip replacement when the child is older.

Finally, I always recommend talking to your pediatrician and continuously developing a more comfortable relationship. This helps with understanding their recommendations and reasons behind them. A mutually respectful relationship is important and will serve you well as your son grows up!

Great question, and thanks for asking!

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