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Hip Dysplasia-Adolescent Treatment

Hip Dysplasia-Adolescent


Treatment for adolescent hip dysplasia focuses on delaying or preventing the onset of osteoarthritis while preserving the natural hip joint for as long as possible.

Hip Dysplasia Treatment in Melbourne

Nonsurgical Treatment

Mr Slattery may recommend nonsurgical treatment if there is mild hip dysplasia and no damage to the labrum or articular cartilage. Nonsurgical treatment may also be tried initially for patients who have such extensive joint damage that the only surgical option would be a total hip replacement.

Common nonsurgical treatments for adolescent hip dysplasia include:


If your child has minimal symptoms and mild dysplasia, simply monitoring the condition to make sure it does not get worse may be an option.


Specific exercises can improve the range of motion in the hip and strengthen the muscles that support the joint. This can relieve some stress on the injured labrum or cartilage.

Lifestyle modification

Avoiding the activities that cause the pain and discomfort may give may give releif. For a child who is overweight, losing weight will also help to reduce pressure on the hip joint.


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and naproxen, can help relieve pain and reduce swelling in an arthritic joint. In addition, cortisone is an anti-inflammatory agent that can be injected directly into a joint.

Surgical Treatment

Mr Slattery may recommend surgery if your child is experiencing pain and has limited damage to his or her articular cartilage. The surgical procedure most commonly used to treat hip dysplasia is an “osteotomy”. Osteotomy literally means “cutting of the bone.” In an osteotomy, Mr Slattery reshapes and reorients the acetabulum and/or femur so that the two joint surfaces are in a more normal anatomic position. Read More

Hip Dysplasia Treatment by Dr David Slattery

Does your adolescent child have pain in the groin that gets worse with activity? Are they experiencing a popping, snapping or catching sensation in the hip? Do they have a reduced range of motion in the hip joint or have difficulty sleeping on their hip? If so, they may be suffering from hip dysplasia.

Hip dysplasia is the abnormal shape of a hip joint, where the socket of the joint is usually too shallow for the ball. This usually happens during childhood, but if it’s not picked up during routine screening, it can remain undetected. In some cases, the dysplasia may be so mild that treatment is not required. However, if left undiagnosed or untreated, it can cause hip pain in young adults, especially during exercise.

As a leading orthopedic surgeon in melbourne, Dr David Slattery specialises in the treatment of hip dysplasia in adolescents and offers a variety of treatment plans, both surgical and nonsurgical to correct it.

What is Hip Dysplasia?

As previously stated, dysplasia of the hip occurs when the ‘ball and socket’ joint of the hip does not form properly in babies and young children. So, let’s explain a little more.

In a normal hip, the ball at the upper end of the femur fits firmly into the socket, the curved part of the pelvic bone also known as the acetabulum. In the case of hip dysplasia, the socket is too shallow to support and cover the head of the femur. This causes increased stress on a smaller area of the joint which often leads to hip pain. As more force is placed on this smaller surface, the cartilage wears away and the labrum (cartilage) becomes damaged. If left untreated, osteoarthritis can develop, which causes the joint to wear away.

What is the Treatment for Hip Dysplasia?

When treating hip dysplasia, the focus is to relieve the patient’s pain, while preserving their natural hip joint for as long as possible. For this reason, Dr Slattery may recommend nonsurgical treatment for hip dysplasia if it is mild and there is no damage to the labrum or articular cartilage. Nonsurgical treatments include observation, physiotherapy, modifications to lifestyle and medication.

However, for some young people, treatment of hip dysplasia will involve surgery to restore the normal hip joint anatomy. Successful surgery will also prevent or delay the onset of osteoarthritis. Surgery is recommended if the patient is experiencing pain and has limited damage to the articular cartilage.

The most common surgical procedure is an osteotomy to place the two joint surfaces in a more normal anatomic position. Dr David Slattery is trained to perform the highly specialised periacetabular osteotomy procedure which was pioneered in Switzerland.

In some instances, Dr Slattery may also offer arthroscopy as a hip dysplasia treatment in Melbourne.

Contact Dr Slattery for Hip Dysplasia Treatment in Melbourne

Dr Slattery has worked with some of the leading orthopaedic specialists in Australia, the UK and Europe. He’s a fellow of the Royal Australian College of Surgeons and the Australian Orthopaedic Association and has over a decade’s experience undertaking hip dysplasia treatment in Melbourne. He practises a patient-centric approach in all his consultations, allowing patients to discuss their treatment options and plans.

As a hip surgeon, Dr Slattery also provide robotic hip replacement surgery, arthroscopy hip surgery, hip total replacement and hip resurfacing. You can book a consultation with Dr Slattery by completing the online booking form or you can contact him at one of the rooms where he is currently consulting.

Periacetabular osteotomy (PAO)

Currently, the osteotomy procedure used to treat adolescent hip dysplasia is a periacetabular osteotomy (PAO). “Periacetabular” means “around the acetabulum.”  This is a highly specialised procedure which is done by select surgeons worldwide after extensive training.  It was pioneered in Switzerland, where Mr Slattery has undertaken fellowship training to learn the intricacies of this procedure.

In most cases, PAO takes 2-3 hours to perform. During the surgery, cuts in the pelvic bone around the hip joint  are made to loosen the acetabulum.  It is then rotated, to re-orient the hip socket into a more normal anatomic position over the femoral head. Small screws are used to hold it in place until it heals.

More information about PAO here

(A) In a periacetabular osteotomy, four cuts are made in the pelvic bone. (B) The bone fragments are manipulated to deepen the socket.


This can be utilised in select cases to treat developmental dysplasia, however, it also has the potential to destabilise the hip joint and worsen symptoms.  It does not alter the underlying shape of the bone which is of key importance to the long term success of surgery.


Periacetabular osteotomy has been shown in many studies to be successful in delaying the need for an artificial hip joint, relieving pain and increasing function. Whether or not a total hip replacement will be needed in the future depends on a number of factors, including the age of the patient and the degree of osteoarthritis that was present in the joint when the PAO was performed.

periacetabular osteotomy xray
In this X-ray image, the acetabulum has been repositioned using a periacetabular osteotomy, and the bones are held in place with screws.
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