Home Health What Does a Positive Ortolani Test Mean for My Child?

What Does a Positive Ortolani Test Mean for My Child?

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A positive Ortolani test result indicates a loose hip. Hip looseness is considered the most significant risk factor for hip osteoarthritis in dogs. The greater this hip laxity, the more likely it is that osteoarthritis will develop in this hip.

How the Ortolani Test is Performed

The Ortolani test is a physical examination used to screen for hip dysplasia. The baby’s hips are flexed and abducted, which means the legs are spread apart. The thigh bone will move down and out from the pelvis if the hip joint is dislocated (or “subluxated”). This movement can be easily seen and felt by a doctor or nurse.

Hip dysplasia is often diagnosed in babies, but it can also occur in adults. Treatment for hip dysplasia depends on the severity of the condition. Some people with mild hip dysplasia may not need any treatment. Others may require physical therapy or surgery.

If your baby has a positive Ortolani test, your doctor will likely refer you to a specialist for further evaluation and treatment. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential to prevent long-term problems with the hips.


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If a positive Ortolani test is detected, your child will need treatment. The most common form of treatment is a brace or splint to keep the hip in place. Surgery may also be required to correct the problem. Treatment options will depend on your child’s age and how severe the dislocation is. Your doctor can help you decide on the best course of treatment for your child.

Your child may also need physical therapy to help them regain the range of motion in their hip and strengthen their muscles. Physical therapy can also help reduce swelling and pain. It is essential to follow your therapist’s instructions closely so that your child can make a full recovery.

It is important to remember that a positive test does not mean your child’s hip is dislocated. A positive Ortolani test is one indication that a child may have hip dysplasia. Further tests will be needed to determine if your child has hip dysplasia and what treatment is required.

The Outcome of the Treatment

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If the child’s condition improves after treatment, then it is likely that the positive Ortolani test was due to dislocation. If the child’s condition does not improve after treatment, then it is likely that the positive Ortolani test was due to another cause. In either case, further evaluation and diagnosis by a pediatric specialist are recommended.

Bilateral dysplasia can cause mild hip flexion contractures, producing hyperlordosis in the lumbar spine and a waddling type of gait.

Treatment success is based on the child’s age and the efficacy of repositioning. With a Pavlik harness, many cases treated in the first 6 months of life have a good prognosis and develop normally without long-term issues.

The older the child or their less successful reduction, the more likely it will require additional surgeries. Later in life, if this type fails, patients may develop hip arthritis and require subsequent replacements.