Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis (SCFE) is a common hip disorder in adolescents causing slippage or separation of the femoral head (ball at the upper end of the femur) from the weakened epiphyseal growth plate (growing end of the bone). This condition often develops during the rapid growth period after the onset of puberty, and may affect one or both legs at the same time. The separation may be caused by an injury or other factors such as obesity and hormonal imbalances. SCFE commonly occurs in children between ages 11 and 15 years and is more common in boys than girls.
The exact cause of SCFE remains unclear; however, the presence of certain factors may increase the risk of your child developing this condition. These include:
Types of SCFE
SCFE is classified into two types; stable and unstable SCFE, based on the severity of pain and damage
Signs and Symptoms
Children with SCFE exhibit certain characteristic signs and symptoms depending on the severity of the slip. The signs and symptoms of stable SCFE include:
The signs and symptoms of unstable SCFE include:
Diagnosis is based on a detailed medical history and physical examination including observation of gait and hip range of motion. X-rays of the hip help show the “slip” of the femoral head at the growth plate (epiphysis). Other imaging tests may be ordered include:
The goal of treatment is to prevent progression or worsening of the slippage and is accomplished through surgery. Surgical intervention involves either internal fixation with a metal screw or pin to hold the femur and femoral head in place.
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