Surgical Hip Dislocation as a Treatment Modality in Children and Adolescents

Surgical Hip Dislocation as a Treatment Modality in Children and Adolescents 150 150 Pam Georgiana

What was once a complicated surgery has now become a safe and effective way to treat many hip conditions.


Treatment of hip conditions and disorders in children and adolescents can be tricky. Doctors must have a thorough understanding of the patient’s anatomy, growth plates, and blood supply, as well as the existence of any deformities or injuries to avoid complications and further damage.

The surgical hip dislocation approach can provide excellent exposure to the hip joint and thus is beneficial when caring for patients with complex hip deformities. It has become a standard practice for treating multiple different developmental conditions like hip dysplasia or Legg-Clave-Perthes disease. It is often used to treat hip impingement or other conditions that cause hip pain. However, the team at Nationwide’s Center for Hip Preservation, headed by Kevin E. Klingele, MD, chief of orthopaedic surgery at Nationwide Children’s, has studied the innovative and safe use of surgical hip dislocation to treat other common hip conditions and injuries in children and adolescents. A summary of their work was recently published in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Because surgical hip dislocation is not the standard treatment for all hip conditions, this summary covers a wide range of conditions where it could be useful. Some are more common and well-known, and some are not. In all cases, the procedure provided safe access to the femoral head and acetabulum with the successful preservation of blood supply.

“The summary highlighted some of the novel ways we use surgical hip dislocation here at Nationwide to treat kids with complex hip issues while limiting complications,” Craig A. Smith, MD, says. Dr. Smith is a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon at Nationwide Children’s and an assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery at The Ohio State University. He is the lead author for the paper.

“For example, we’ve found that the surgical hip dislocation is an excellent technique for treating traumatic hip injuries such as dislocations or fractures in the femur. We’ve published a case series on using the dislocation approach to address hip fractures and have shown good outcomes,” Dr. Smith says.

They also found that surgical hip dislocation makes treating benign and malignant tumors in the hip joint safer and more effective.

The paper also highlighted using the approach in younger patients who are skeletally immature. In the past, doctors thought this kind of surgical procedure was not safe for children that young, but Dr. Smith and team have shown that it can be just as effective and safe.

The authors conclude that surgical hip dislocation can be expanded to include younger patients and a variety of conditions affecting the hip.

“Our work enables doctors to perform more successful hip reconstructions. We’re continually developing new hip preservation techniques and collaborating with others to improve options for patients. There is now hope for patients with conditions thought to be irreparable in the past,” Dr. Smith says.



Smith C, DiBartola AC, Fisher M, Klingele KE. Surgical Hip Dislocation in Pediatric and Adolescent Patients. J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2023;31(6):e287-e297. doi:10.5435/JAAOS-D-21-01099

About the author

Pam Georgiana is a brand marketing professional and writer located in Bexley, Ohio. She believes that words bind us together as humans and that the best stories remind us of our humanity. She specialized in telling engaging stories for healthcare, B2B services, and nonprofits using classic storytelling techniques. Pam has earned an MBA in Marketing from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio.