From 1974 to 1989, we treated 50 patients with a simple dislocation of the hip: 38 were posterior dislocations and 12 were anterior. All dislocations primarily treated at our hospital were reduced by closed methods within three hours (mean 85 minutes (10 to 180)) and 43 were reviewed after an average follow-up of 8 years (2 to 17). It is widely held that isolated hip dislocation reduced within six hours gives an excellent outcome, but we found a significant number of complications. There were radiological signs of partial avascular necrosis in two, mild osteoarthritis in seven, and moderate degeneration in two. Heterotopic ossification was seen in four patients, but 29 of 33 MRI examinations were normal. Objective evaluation according to the Thompson and Epstein (1951) criteria showed fair and poor results in 3 of 12 anterior dislocations, but in 16 of 30 posterior dislocations. In six of the seven patients with no other severe injury, the hip had an excellent or good result; in only three of the eight patients with severe multiple injuries was this the case. The important factors in the long-term prognosis appear to be the direction of the dislocation and the overall severity of injuries.
- © 1994 British Editorial Society of Bone and Joint Surgery