Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis (SCFE) is defined as the femoral neck and femoral shaft (top portions of the femur) moving either posteriorly (back), anteriorly (forward) or laterally (to the side) away from the femoral epiphysis and acetabulum (the ball portion of the femur). A SCFE can be either unilateral (one side) or bilateral (both sides).
There are three types of SCFEs: Acute, Acute-on-chronic, and Chronic
SCFEs can be further defined as stable or unstable.
The cause of a SCFE is unknown but several factors may contribute to the development of a SCFE
Mechanical: A SCFE usually occurs during the adolescent years when a growth spurt is or has occurred. When a growth spurt occurs, it stimulates the epiphysis to make bone grow and that can cause weakness in the bone, leading to a slip of the femoral head.
Endocrine: Children with hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism or hypogonadal conditions have been shown to have an increase chance of developing a SCFE.
In addition, factors such as obesity, race (African Americans more common) and gender (boys affected more often than girls) can also be a contributing factor.
The following are signs and symptoms that may be present with a SCFE:
These symptoms may vary or not all be present, depending on the severity and type of SCFE.
X-ray: Pictures of the hip, thigh and pelvis are taken of both legs to compare. From these x-rays, the severity of the slip and the treatment options can be determined.
Almost all patients need surgery to treat a SCFE. Depending on the severity of the SCFE determines the type of surgical procedure that will be performed. The two most common types of surgery are in-situ pinning and surgical hip dislocation with subcapital osteotomy.
Timely diagnosis and treatment are important to help decrease the chance of complications. However, despite treatment, a patient with SCFE may develop complications. Chondrolysis or damage to the cartilage (a soft connective tissue in the joint) is damage that may lead to joint stiffness and pain.
Avascular necrosis (AVN) is when blood flow to the bone is reduced or absent. AVN causes the bone to die from the inside out, leading to bone deformity, pain, and arthritis.
Both of these problems are more common in unstable SCFE. Further surgical intervention may be needed if either of these complications occur.
Our experienced team is developing the newest techniques for treating the most complex hip problems in kids.
Request an Appointment
At Nationwide Children’s, every child diagnosed with a an orthopedic problem is handled with an individualized treatment plan.
To request an appointment call (614) 722-6200 or click the link below.