Sidra Medicine, a member of Qatar Foundation, has seen more than 350 children at its multidisciplinary based Infant Hip Clinic. The clinic diagnoses and treats children with developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH), the the most common condition in newborn infants, affecting one in ten firstborn.

Dr Abdelsalam Hegazy, consultant orthopaedic surgeon, who launched the Infant Hip Clinic at Sidra Medicine said, “Early signs of DDH can be discovered during the initial newborn health check. There are opportunities to do this during follow-up examinations every time the infant comes in for vaccinations. While studies indicate a genetic link, current literature supports that eight in ten cases of DDH affects females and it is also approximately 12 times more likely to occur if there is a family history of the condition.”

“DDH is known as a silent condition as it does not cause pain or prevent children from walking. This means that unless it becomes part of a routine newborn examination, the condition can go undetected in the early months of life. The sooner DDH is identified, the more likely treatment will be successful,” Dr Hegazy continued.

The Infant Hip Clinic at Sidra Medicine, launched in February 2019, accepts internal and external referrals from primary healthcare providers and private clinics.

Treatment for DDH varies according to the age of the child. A Pavlik harness is used for babies under six months of age. For children aged 6-12 months, a hip brace for three months or cast application under general anaesthesia for 3-6 months is usually required. Children between 12-18 months require surgical intervention and then cast application for 6-12 weeks to ensure that the hip joint remains in a correct position.

Dr Talal Ibrahim, acting division chief of paediatric orthopedic surgery, Sidra Medicine said, “The Infant Hip Clinic can help address a very critical component of the assessment and treatment of DDH – that is saving families the time in going back and forth for separate appointments and scheduling a treatment plan. This is part of our multidisciplinary approach to family and patient centred care. Early intervention is critical and we advise paediatricians to conduct assessments during initial baby screening. If treatment is delayed, then further management becomes more complicated and associated with complex surgery.”

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