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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Emergency Physician Reduction of Pediatric Hip Dislocation


Traumatic hip dislocation in children is relatively rare but presents a true emergency, as a delay in reduction can result in avascular necrosis of the femoral head and long-term morbidity. After sustaining a traumatic posterolateral hip dislocation, a seven-year-old boy presented to an outside facility where no attempt was made at reduction. The patient was transferred to our emergency department (ED) where he was promptly sedated and the dislocation was reduced in a timely manner. Emergency physicians have demonstrated high success rates with dislocation reduction. ED reduction should occur immediately to reduce the likelihood of long-term complications. While timely consultation with a pediatric orthopedist is recommended, that should not delay reduction. The reduction should ideally be performed before the patient leaves the department or is transferred to another facility.

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