Pediatric Radiology

, Volume 49, Issue 12, pp 1669–1677 | Cite as

The borderline dysplastic hip: when and how is it abnormal?

  • Sarah D. BixbyEmail author
  • Michael B. Millis
Musculoskeletal imaging


Borderline acetabular dysplasia refers to mildly sub-normal patterns of acetabular shape and coverage that might predispose children to mechanical dysfunction and instability. Borderline dysplasia generally includes children with a lateral center edge angle (CEA) of 18–24°. Some children with borderline radiographic measurements have normal joint mechanics and function while others benefit from acetabular reorienting surgery. Although radiographic findings of borderline dysplasia might suggest instability, the ultimate diagnosis is based on history and physical exam in addition to imaging. Children with borderline acetabular dysplasia sometimes benefit from other cross-sectional imaging studies such as MR imaging to evaluate for secondary evidence of instability, including damage along the acetabular rim, or labral degeneration and hypertrophy. CT is also helpful for depiction of 3-D acetabular morphology for preoperative assessment and planning. Pediatric radiologists are often the first to identify borderline or mild dysplasia on radiographs. It is imperative that pediatric radiologists serve as effective consultants and offer appropriate recommendations as part of a cohesive multidisciplinary approach to this complex patient population.


Acetabular dysplasia Adolescents Children Developmental hip dysplasia Hip Radiography 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of RadiologyBoston Children’s HospitalBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Orthopedic SurgeryBoston Children’s HospitalBostonUSA

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