Hip spica cast removal

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Find out when a hip spica cast can be removed and what care your child will need after the removal.

Key points

  • Your child's cast will be taken off when the bones and soft tissues have healed following surgery.
  • Your child's doctor will decide when the cast needs to be removed.

What is a hip spica cast?

A hip spica cast is a special type of cast that helps keep hip joint in place following surgery for developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH).

When will my child’s cast be removed?

Once your child’s doctor has confirmed that their bones have healed, they will remove your child’s cast. Typically, after a closed reduction surgery for DDH, the spica cast will be used for 3-4 months, and following an open reduction surgery and osteotomies the spica cast will be used for 6-8 weeks. Your health-care provider will discuss the specific plan with you based on your child’s condition.

Cast removal

A special electric cast saw will be used to remove the cast. The saw is large and noisy, and your child might feel scared, but it is very safe. Before the procedure, the health-care team will explain to you and your child what is going to happen. This will help your child feel more comfortable. They will also provide your child with an ear protector.

Caring for your child after the cast comes off

After the cast comes off, the skin that was under the cast will be dry and flaky and will need the following treatments.

  • Wash the skin several times with warm and soapy water.
  • Apply lotion to soften the skin.
  • Do not scratch or rub the skin too hard as it will be very tender.
  • After three to four treatments, the skin should begin to look normal again.

In an older child, you might see more hair than usual. This will fall out after several weeks. After the cast is removed, you will be given more instructions on your child's activities. Your child may need some physiotherapy to learn exercises that will help with improving strength and movement.

Follow-up appointments

When you leave the hospital, you will be given a follow-up date and time if it is available. If not, you will receive a call at home with the necessary information.

Who to call if you have concerns

For any emergency, please go to the nearest hospital emergency department.

For any non-urgent concerns you may call the orthopaedic unit. at 416-813-6948 to speak with a nurse.

Last updated: October 17th 2022