What is Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis (SCFE)?

Also known as: slipped upper femoral epiphysis.

What is Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis?

Slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE) occurs when the ball of the hip (epiphysis) slips along the growth plate (physis). This causes a deformity of the hip that causes pain and limits hip motion.

What causes Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis (SCFE)?

Slipped capital femoral epiphysis typically occurs in children between 10 and 15 years of age The primary risk factor is excessive weight (obesity) of the patient. Other risk factors include:

  • Hypothyroidism or growth hormone deficiency
  • Subtle anatomic abnormalities of the hip joint


What are the symptoms of Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis (SCFE)?

Children with slipped capital femoral epiphysis typically complain of groin, thigh or knee pain. They frequently walk with a limp and point the foot of the affected leg pointing outward.

Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis Treatment

Slipped capital femoral epiphysis should be treated by a pediatric orthopedist. A single screw is usually placed across the growth plate to prevent additional slippage of the epiphysis. The patient may require additional surgery if there is persistent hip pain or limited motion after the slip is stabilized.


Reviewed by: Kevin S Horowitz, MD

This page was last updated on: 5/22/2018 1:03:56 PM

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04/09/2018 — Lucky started going to physical therapy when he was two because of the delays with sitting up and rolling over. His physical therapist noticed that the problem was not muscular but skeletal, a condition that she couldn't treat. The pediatrician told Janie and Greg, Lucky’s parents, about Nicklaus Children's Hospital. When Janie and Greg visited Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, they met Dr. Harry L Shufflebarger, Pediatric Spinal Surgery Director. He performed the necessary surgeries and now Lucky can enjoy a healthy life.
April Patient of the Month: Lucky
04/09/2018 — Lucky started going to physical therapy when he was two because of the delays with sitting up and rolling over. His physical therapist noticed that the problem was not muscular but skeletal, a condition that she couldn't treat. The pediatrician told Janie and Greg, Lucky’s parents, about Nicklaus Children's Hospital. When Janie and Greg visited Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, they met Dr. Harry L Shufflebarger, Pediatric Spinal Surgery Director. He performed the necessary surgeries and now Lucky can enjoy a healthy life.

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Avi Baitner, MD of Nicklaus Children's Hospital is a pediatric orthopedic surgeon with the Orthopedic Surgery Program.