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Children's Orthopaedics

Does brace treatment following closed reduction of developmental dysplasia of the hip improve acetabular coverage?

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Abduction bracing is commonly used to treat developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) following closed reduction and spica casting, with little evidence to support or refute this practice. The purpose of this study was to determine the efficacy of abduction bracing after closed reduction in improving acetabular index (AI) and reducing secondary surgery for residual hip dysplasia.


We performed a retrospective review of patients treated with closed reduction for DDH at a single tertiary referral centre. Demographic data were obtained including severity of dislocation based on the International Hip Dysplasia Institute (IHDI) classification, age at reduction, and casting duration. Patients were prescribed no abduction bracing, part-time, or full-time wear post-reduction and casting. AI measurements were obtained immediately upon cast removal and from two- and four-year follow-up radiographs.


A total of 243 hips underwent closed reduction and 82% (199/243) were treated with abduction bracing. There was no difference between those treated with or without bracing with regard to sex, age at reduction, severity of dislocation, spica duration, or immediate post-casting AI (all p > 0.05). There was no difference in hips treated with or without abduction brace with regard to AI at two years post-reduction (32.4° (SD 5.3°) vs 30.9° (SD 4.6°), respectively; p = 0.099) or at four years post-reduction (26.4° (SD 5.2°) vs 25.4° (SD 5.1°), respectively; p = 0.231). Multivariate analysis revealed only IHDI grade predicted AI at two years post-reduction (p = 0.004). There was no difference in overall rate of secondary surgery for residual dysplasia between hips treated with or without bracing (32% vs 39%, respectively; p = 0.372). However, there was an increased risk of early secondary surgery (< two years post-reduction) in the non-braced group (11.4% vs 2.5%; p = 0.019).


Abduction bracing following closed reduction for DDH treatment is not associated with decreased residual dysplasia at two or four years post-reduction but may reduce rates of early secondary surgery. A prospective study is indicated to provide more definitive recommendations.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2023;105-B(12):1327–1332.

Correspondence should be sent to Harry K. W. Kim. E-mail:

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