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For children with a body harness or spica cast by hip dysplasia

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Double hip dysplasia

Hip dysplasia in two hips: this is the story of Selma


Our eldest daughter was just born when the doctors found out that our ten-month old niece had hip luxation. This was our first introduction to this developmental disorder. When our daughter turned 3 months we decided to have an ultrasound made of our daughter’s hips. To our relief, we were reassured straightaway that there was nothing wrong. Shortly afterwards my niece got a spica cast and after a long process she finally underwent surgery at the age of 3. She seems all fine now.

Just after the plaster that was fitted after surgery was taken off, our second daughter was born, Selma. Selma was a big baby (4040 grams) which had caused some pressure on her legs in the womb. The legs were a bit strangely positioned, but that would go away all by itself, and it did. We immediately noticed that in terms of body type she had more in common with her niece than with her sister. When she turned 3 months we also wanted to have an ultrasound made of Selma’s hips just to be sure. Both the health centre and the doctor reassured us, they couldn’t feel anything and the hip joint itself was very flexible. Nevertheless, we still decided to have an ultrasound made, followed by an X-ray. The same afternoon we visited the orthopaedist. He diagnosed Selma with hip dysplasia on both sides. Her left hip was affected and the femoral head of her right hip was out of centre. During the physical examination he did not notice anything abnormal either, but the X-ray showed the opposite.

A few days later we went to Amersfoort for a Pavlik harness. Although Selma was only 3 months old, she already fitted a size 1, which is designed for children from 5 to 10 months old. We were relieved she was fixed in her harness so that the dysplasia wouldn’t get worse. The orthopaedist told us that we had 80-90% chance the hips would be corrected by the Pavlik. The first X-ray after 3 months confirmed progress. The femoral heads of both hips are now in the proper position and the sockets still need to develop. We can assume that the problem will be solved with the Pavlik. The doctor didn’t want to give us a real prognosis but she probably will be finished before her first birthday. We must of course still see if we are really that lucky, but this all is in contrast to the process my niece has gone through, all because they diagnosed our daughter earlier (thanks to her!!)

Practical tips

We never experienced the Pavlik as a heavy burden, Selma got used to it very quickly (she only slept badly for the first two nights) and seems to be developing normally despite her movement limitation. The biggest challenge was finding cloths, traveling with her and letting her sit up. At the beginning we decided to remove the Pavlik as little as possible, certainly not for changing her diaper. That is why we put long socks and a romper under her Pavlik and the rest on top of her harness. Because of this system we only have to remove the Pavlik for a longer time once a week, when she had a bath or when the romper or socks were dirty. We dyed the Pavlik purple with Dylon hand wash paint to give it a less ‘medical’ look. In the summer she used to wear a loose dress on top of the Pavlik; now that it is getting cooler, the jumpsuit from Kiek Hip Wear offers the perfect solution.

We bought a car seat, a Musty Traveller, on eBay. This car seat has flat sides allowing her to still sit in a healthy position. Unfortunately, this care seat is for children under 10 kg so we are looking for a slightly bigger model.  We bought a baby bouncer at Prénatal, which is very flat in comparison to other chairs. She is nearly able to sit all by herself. When she is able to do that, she can sit in the Tripp Trapp with a Minichair from Minimonkey.

When we put her in the carrier bike she sits in the Babboe baby bowl and we carry her in an Evolu'bulle baby sling by Néobulle. We do not use a pushchair.