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Pediatric Sports Medicine

Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis (SCFE)

Our Pediatric Sports Medicine team put together these videos to provide information for you.


Drew Warnick, MD

Hello my name is Doctor Drew Warnick, and I am the surgical director of AllSports Medicine at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. I am a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon with special training in pediatric and adolescent sports medicine.

In this video, we are going to discuss slipped capital femoral epiphysis.

What is Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis?

Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis(SCFE) is an unusual disorder of the hip. For reasons that are not well understood, the ball at the upper end of the femur slips off. This is due to weakness of the growth plate and often develops during periods of accelerated growth, shortly after the onset of puberty.

What Causes SCFE?

The cause of SCFE is unknown. It is 2-3 times more common in males, and a large number of patients are overweight.

How do I know if I have SCFE?

People with SCFE usually have a history of several weeks or months of hip or knee pain, and often have a limp. Sometimes, the adolescent will be unable to bear weight on the affected leg.

How is SCFE diagnosed?

We will examine your hip with specific tests to help diagnose SCFE. X-rays or Magnetic resonance imaging may be needed to help identify this condition.

What happens if you have SCFE?

For SCFE, nonoperative treatment is not an option. The femoral head can continue to slip off the femoral neck and lead to destruction of the hip joint if surgical treatment is not given immediately.

What are my treatment options?

Most likely, a child with SCFE will be admitted to the hospital for treatment.

For Small slips, treatment includes fixing the femoral head in place with a screw to prevent any additional slipping of the femoral head.

For large slips that severely limit hip motion and function, the hip can be dislocated and the femoral head can be repositioned on the neck and held in place with screws.

Care after surgery?

After surgery, the child will be on crutches for weeks to months. The child is followed at regular intervals to ensure that healing has occurred.