Cerebral palsy is a term used to describe a group of disorders which affect movement and posture. Hip displacement is a common problem that children with cerebral palsy face. It can cause pain, difficulty moving the hip, as well as problems with sitting, standing and walking.
“Hip displacement can occur while children and youth are growing and children who are at higher risk for hip displacement will benefit from the Hip Surveillance Program until an X-ray determines that their bones have stopped growing,” says Dr. Kishore Mulpuri program medical lead and pediatric orthopedic surgeon at BC Children’s.
The program’s provincial coordinator Stacey Miller notes, “Children and youth throughout BC will receive hip screening in their home community, with their physiotherapist working in partnership with our team. X-rays are taken in the child’s local community and then sent to the Hip Surveillance Program team at BC Children’s.” Miller explains that the team at BC Children’s will then review the physiotherapy exam and X-rays to see if the child is at risk for hip displacement and share their assessment with the child's local healthcare team.
Enrollment for the program began last fall at three test sites (BC Children’s, Queen Alexandra Centre for Children’s Health in Victoria and the Child Development Centre of Prince George and District) and is now available across the province.
Cerebral palsy presents differently in every child—sisters Olivia (14) and Mckenzie (11) have traveled to BC Children’s for treatment since they were young children. Mckenzie experienced pain when standing or sitting, and was only comfortable while lying down; as a child she would tap her hip when she was in pain. Olivia's experience was much different in that she was a silent sufferer and so her parents had no way of knowing she was in pain as an infant.
Through the Hip Surveillance Program both Olivia and Mckenzie have regular X-rays and clinical exams measuring movement and muscle tone. They are closely monitored for hip displacement and pain or discomfort. This will allow them to avoid a more complicated surgery and difficult recovery time.
Dr. Maureen O’Donnell, Child Health BC executive director, notes the novel provincial collaboration that has made the program possible. “The Hip Surveillance Program is a partnership between teams at BC Children’s and Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children, along with therapists, orthopedic surgeons, pediatricians and parents throughout BC. Together, health professionals help ensure that children at risk for hip displacement receive appropriate screening and are referred, when needed, to a pediatric orthopedic surgeon to minimize or prevent complications associated with hip dislocations.”
All children with cerebral palsy in BC should be enrolled in the program. Parents and health care providers wanting to ensure a child is referred or seeking more information can visit, www.childhealthbc.ca/hips