*Disclaimer: This information is for education purposes only. Always check with your doctor or other health care professional to make sure this information is right for your child.
Slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE, pronounced ‘skiffy’) is a disorder of the hip that happens in adolescents. It occurs when the ball at the top of the thigh bone, called the femoral head, slips off in a backwards direction. It is caused by a weakness in the growth plate of the bone. It tends to happen during periods of rapid growth, shortly after puberty starts. It usually happens slowly over time, but can sometimes happen as the result of a fall or other trauma. It is more common in boys, especially those who may be overweight.
Patients with SCFE usually have several weeks or months of pain in the hip, groin or knee, and often walk with a limp. The physical examination usually finds that the hip has a reduced range of motion, and the patient may not be able to flex or rotate the leg inward. Sometimes the affected leg even appears shorter than the unaffected leg.
After a thorough health history and physical examination, X-rays will be done to confirm the diagnosis.
The aim of treatment is to prevent any more slipping of the femoral head until the growth plate has closed. Surgery is required to secure the bone and make sure it doesn’t move. Treatment usually begins within 24 to 48 hours of diagnosis. We will provide specific instructions about activity restrictions and weight-bearing status. Follow-up will take place at regular intervals for up to 2 years, with frequent X-rays to track your child’s progress.