The purpose of this study was to evaluate the problems associated with hip dislocation in adults with cerebral palsy. Twenty-nine subjects with dislocated hips and no prior hip surgery were identified. There were a total of 38 dislocated hips. Age range was 21 to 52 years (average 34). Seven dislocated hips (18%) were definitely painful and four hips (11%) produced only mild or intermittent pain. Twenty-seven hips (71%) were not painful. The seven painful hips underwent proximal femoral resection, resulting in excellent range of motion and no pain. In conclusion, for established nonpainful hip dislocation in the severely involved spastic quadriplegic patient, aggressive surgical treatment should be undertaken only after careful consideration of the natural history. If a dislocated hip becomes painful in adulthood or develops an adduction contracture interfering with perineal care, a proximal femoral resection can be performed with reliably good success.