Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis: Diagnosis and Management

Am Fam Physician. 2017 Jun 15;95(12):779-784.


Slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE) is the most common hip disorder in adolescents, occurring in 10.8 per 100,000 children. SCFE usually occurs in those eight to 15 years of age and is one of the most commonly missed diagnoses in children. SCFE is classified as stable or unstable based on the stability of the physis. It is associated with obesity, growth spurts, and (occasionally) endocrine abnormalities such as hypothyroidism, growth hormone supplementation, hypogonadism, and panhypopituitarism. Patients with SCFE usually present with limping and poorly localized pain in the hip, groin, thigh, or knee. Diagnosis is confirmed by bilateral hip radiography, which should include anteroposterior and frog-leg views in patients with stable SCFE, and anteroposterior and cross-table lateral views in unstable SCFE. The goals of treatment are to prevent slip progression and avoid complications such as avascular necrosis, chondrolysis, and femoroacetabular impingement. Stable SCFE is usually treated using in situ screw fixation. Treatment of unstable SCFE also usually involves in situ fixation, but there is controversy about timing of surgery and the value of reduction. Postoperative rehabilitation of patients with SCFE may follow a five-phase protocol.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Bone Screws
  • Child
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Epiphyses, Slipped / diagnosis*
  • Epiphyses, Slipped / diagnostic imaging
  • Epiphyses, Slipped / surgery
  • Humans