Hip Spica removal – cast off day!

Cast off day finally came!

So today, after 15 long arse weeks, Harper finally had her hip spica cast removed.  Our appointment was actually quite early in the morning at 10.40 but all the way over at Maidstone hospital.  When we arrived to the clinic we were given two forms, oe for the plaster room and one for X-ray.  Much to my surprise we were sent straight down and into the plaster room to have Harper’s cast removed immediately.

1 year old in pink hip spica cast

Cast Removal

unfortunately I wasn’t able to film Harper’s cast being removed but I was allowed to take some pictures.  First they cut into all the tape and padding around the bottom  of each legs and around the nappy area

hip spica removal - cast being removed
Harper was quite happy and chilled at this point.  After this came the special plaster removal saw!  This was about as noisy as a vacuum cleaner.  Harper is fine with loud noise but she did not like the vibrations is made as they cut down the side of her legs and had a little bit of a moan before realising it wasn’t too bad and then stopping.  The saw somehow cuts through fibreglass plaster cast but doesnt cut skin if it comes into contact with it.

hip spica removal - cast being removed

hip spica removal - cast being removed

A plaster cast surprise

A special tool was used to crack the cast open further.  At this point one of them let out an ‘Oh’.  It transpired that everything was ok but Harper had been double casted.  This means she had a plaster of paris plaster cast underneath her fibreglass one!  No wonder she was so ridiculously heavy.

hip spica removal - cast being removed
The reason behind it is some consultants put plaster of paris underneath on young children as if any fluid gets into it (wee!) plaster of paris will absorb the spillage.  Personally I think this is a weird idea as you’ll just end up with a paster cast that smells of urine.  If she had just had a fibreglass cast you would just try your best to dry it out and then remove the wadding (which would also remove the smell!).

Finally off

The plaster cast team then had to manually cut through the last of the plaster of paris using scissors.  They did unfortunately pinch Harper on one side when the last section was being removed.  Harper was not happy about this and let them know with 5 minutes of ear-piercing crying.  One she had calmed down I was able to quickly grab a few pictures of her removed cast.  I was expecting to find a box worth of Cheerios in Harper’s cast.  But all there seemed to be was a little bit of dirt.

hip spica removal - inside of hip spica

hip spica removal - cast cut in half

Harper’s new legs

Harper was very floppy and couldn’t even sit upright without support once the cast was removed, but extremely interested in her legs.  I had read that a lot of children had very sensitive legs after hip spica removal.  Harper didn’t seem to have this issue at all.  Harper was happily inspecting her legs and letting me touch them.  A thick coat of old dried brown coloured skin was all clumped in areas all along her leg  which Harper was quite happily picking off.

Time for an X-Ray

Straight over to x-ray next to see if the hip spica had actually worked.  The X-ray took place very quickly and we went back to see the specialist.  Except it turns out the specialist wasn’t in. Instead we had to see a registrar.  I was a tad annoyed about this as I wish I had been informed prior to the appointment that he wouldn’t be there.  I had earlier noticed on her forms that they had marked her down to have a hip abduction brace applied.  The last time I had spoken to the Consultant he had asked to keep Harper in hip spica longer so that we wouldn’t have to wear a hip abduction brace afterwards.

The X-ray result

When we did see the registrar he showed us the hip x-rays.  Not a great amount was explained, other than telling us her hip sockets were still very shallow.  I knew instantly that this means the possibility of further invasive surgery.  He did confirm that her hip-joint is now at least very stable so the hip abduction brace would only be necessary at night-time.  However last time Harper wore a hip abduction brace at night  the brace was not well tolerated and Harper awoke every hour.  After some discussion I decided it would be best to take an abduction brace and at least try it.  As Harper has been accustomed to sleeping with a hip spica for the past 4 months or so I hoped sleeping with the brace may be easier this time.

What Next

Moving forward Harper will have another x-ray and her hips reviewed again in 4 months time.  I’m sincerely hoping that her hip sockets find some depth to them.  But at the same time I think I’m going to have to resign myself that this may not be the last time we see Harper wearing a hip spica!  Harper’s physical abilities are no where as good as when she went into the hip spica.  I’ll be blogging about her journey to getting back on her feet again so subscribe to the blog to make sure you don’t miss any updates.  I’ll leave you with this lovely pic of her going to bed tonight in her hip abduction brace.  The fact that Harper is wearing pyjamas at least feels like a little win for the day.

hip abduction brace being worn by 1 year old girl wearing pink pyjamas



  1. Katherine Pearce
    May 23, 2017 / 9:09 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. It’s been really useful to know what to expect and great to see the pictures inside the spica. Fingers crossed she keeps improving over the next four months.

    • May 23, 2017 / 9:10 pm

      Brilliant I really hoped that sharing these would help someone! Thanks for commenting 🙂

    May 23, 2017 / 10:33 pm

    Must feel lovely not having all that weight 😘

  3. E burdass
    May 27, 2017 / 7:34 pm

    Thanks for the blog.. great to see pictures of what to expect.. my 18m D is currently in a hip spica cast and is due to change to a brace in 2 weeks.. do u fine any difference in the brace? Movement wise? Is it easier or harder to crawl around in?

    • May 27, 2017 / 7:39 pm

      We’re only having to wear the brace at night this time – prior to 15 weeks in hip spica we had done 12 weeks 24/7 in brace followed by 12 weeks at night. I’d say it’s easier to crawl in as it’s a lot lot lighter and they are able to bend their knees in them. Harper can still only commando crawl at night with a brace on – but even without it she’s still commando crawling! I’ll be updating next week how we’re getting on now we’re out of hip spica 🙂

  4. Jo
    August 6, 2017 / 7:17 pm

    Thank you for your blog. As a Mum of one little miracle I have found it so very hard speaking and finding someone who is or has gone through this. This short blog has helped me understand a little. Wish I had someone to speak to. My daughter has her Surgery in 5 weeks

    • August 6, 2017 / 7:22 pm

      There is an excellent support group I found on Facebook (there’s loads but this one in particular is amazing) I don’t know if you’re in the UK but the group is called “My Hippy Baby UK & Ireland (DDH, Hip Dysplasia, Clicky Hips)” Loads of other parents all going through the same thing (or have been through it before and have stayed to help!)

      We’ve got Harper’s first check up next month. I’m really hoping for an improvement on the shallow socket but I’m not holding my breath 😬

  5. Luke
    February 10, 2020 / 1:03 am

    Granddaughter just got hip spika this is day 4 .
    I’m worried about pressure sores she has one already on back.
    What was the Extra padding You have used at the top and around bottom ?
    We have used extra sleek tape in area at bottom .

    • February 10, 2020 / 9:06 am

      All the extra padding was added by the hospital when the cast was put on, if she has pressure sores only after 4 days I would immediately be in contact with the hospital asking if you can bring her in to have the cast reviewed or asking what can you buy to add padding yourself. We didn’t have to add any extra padding to our daughters cast, but did buy coloured duct tape to make a bit more waterproof in and around the edges and nappy area – hope this helps!

  6. Luke
    February 10, 2020 / 10:49 am

    Thanks for replying
    We found out that surgeon and team done cast not cast team.
    We had them repair cast today.
    We could not see her sore until epidural and pads were removed
    As granddaughter has severe cerebral palsy and was always out most of the time .
    But thanks for insight into your story it will help us

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