Pediatric Radiology

, Volume 46, Issue 7, pp 1023–1031 | Cite as

An index for diagnosing infant hip dysplasia using 3-D ultrasound: the acetabular contact angle

  • Myles G. MabeeEmail author
  • Abhilash Rakkunedeth Hareendranathan
  • Richard B. Thompson
  • Sukhdeep Dulai
  • Jacob L. Jaremko
Original Article



Developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) is a common condition that is highly treatable in infancy but can lead to the lifelong morbidity of premature osteoarthritis if left untreated. Current diagnostic methods lack reliability, which may be improved by using 3-D ultrasound.


Conventional 2-D US assessment of DDH has limitations, including high inter-scan variability. We quantified DDH on 3-D US using the acetabular contact angle (ACA), a property of the 3-D acetabular shape. We assessed ACA reliability and diagnostic utility.

Materials and methods

We prospectively collected data from January 2013 to December 2014, including 114 hips in 85 children divided into three clinical diagnostic groups: (1) normal, (2) initially borderline but ultimately normal without treatment and (3) dysplastic requiring treatment. Using custom software, two observers each traced acetabula twice on two 3-D US scans of each hip, enabling automated generation of 3-D surface models and ACA calculation. We computed inter-observer and inter-scan variability of repeatability coefficients and generated receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves.


The 3-D US acetabular contact angle was reproduced 95% of the time within 6° in the same scan and within 9° in different scans of the same hip, vs. 9° and 14° for the 2-D US alpha angle (P < 0.001). Areas under ROC curves for diagnosis of developmental dysplasia of the hip were 0.954 for ACA and 0.927 for alpha angle.


The 3-D US ACA was significantly more reliable than 2-D US alpha angle, and the 3-D US measurement predicted the presence of DDH with slightly higher accuracy. The ACA therefore shows promising initial diagnostic utility. Our findings call for further study of 3-D US in the diagnosis and longer-term follow-up of infant hip dysplasia.


Developmental dysplasia of the hip Hip Infants Quantitative indices Three-dimensional ultrasound Ultrasound 



The authors are grateful for the Radiology Society of North America (RSNA) Research Seed Grant #RSD1425 and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Institute of Human Development Child and Youth Health (IHDCYH) Grant NI15-004, which provided research funding for this work.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Myles G. Mabee
    • 1
    Email author
  • Abhilash Rakkunedeth Hareendranathan
    • 1
  • Richard B. Thompson
    • 2
  • Sukhdeep Dulai
    • 3
  • Jacob L. Jaremko
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Radiology and Diagnostic ImagingUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.Department of Biomedical EngineeringUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  3. 3.Department of SurgeryUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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