Overhead Bryant’s Traction Does Not Improve the Success of Closed Reduction or Limit AVN in Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip

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Background:Preoperative Bryant’s overhead traction before closed reduction (CR) in developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) remains controversial and its success in increasing CR rates and reducing avascular necrosis (AVN) rates has not been specifically reported in a large cohort.Methods:IRB-approved retrospective study of patients (below 3 y)who were treated with attempted CR for idiopathic DDH from 1980 to 2009. Successful CR was defined as a hip that remained reduced and did not require repeat CR or open reduction. Patients were grouped by age, hip instability [Ortolani positive (reducible) vs. fixed dislocation], and Tonnis classification and rates of successful CR were compared between groups with P<0.05.Results:A total of 342 hips were included with a mean age of 0.9 years (0.2 to 2.8 y) and a mean follow-up of 10.4 years (2.0 to 27.7 y). There were 269 hips with fixed dislocations and 73 Ortolani-positive hips. Traction was used in 276 hips. There was no difference in traction utilization in the 3 age groups (below 1, below 1.5, and below 2 y) for either Ortolani-positive hips (P=0.947) or fixed dislocations (P=0.943). There was no difference in achieving a successful CR comparing traction (60.9%) and no-traction groups (60.6%) (P=1.00). For Ortolani-positive hips, traction did not improve the incidence of a successful CR for any age group: below 1 year: P=0.19; below 1.5 years: P=0.23; and below 2 years: P=0.25. Similarly, fixed dislocation patients had no benefit from traction: below 1 year: P=0.76; below 1.5 years: P=0.82; and below 2 years: P=0.85. Tonnis classification did predict success of CR but had no influence on traction success. There was no difference in the rate of AVN between the traction (18%) and no-traction (8%) groups for all patients (P=0.15).Conclusions:In this retrospective series, preoperative Bryant’s traction does not improve the rate of a successful CR for patients with DDH and has no protective effect on the development of AVN of the femoral head. These results suggest that Bryant’s overhead traction may not be warranted for patients below 3 years of age with DDH.Level of Evidence:Level III.

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