Slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE)


If your child experiences hip problems they may have SCFE. Our paediatric experts can make a diagnosis and treat them

About SCFE

SCFE is a hip condition that can be experienced by adolescents. This occurs when the ball that rests at the top of the femur (thighbone) moves backwards from the neck of the bone. It can occur as a result of growth spurts, a fall/trauma or excessive weight issues. Your child's consultant can assess them and determine whether surgery may be required.

Need to know

Symptoms of SCFE include:

  • Sudden pain resultant from a fall
  • External rather than internal rotation of you child's affected leg
  • Inability to walk freely
  • The affected leg may appear shorter than the other

Your child's consultant will discuss their symptoms with you to help make a diagnosis. They will carry out a physical examination. This is to assess if pain is experienced in your child's hip motion. Your consultant will also observe if there gait is irregular (the way they walk). An X-ray will help determine whether a procedure is needed.

The aim of surgery is to prevent further slipping of the femoral head (the ball that rests on the hip socket). Procedure options include:

  • In situ fixation for stable SCFE (still able to walk freely). Your child's surgeon will make a small incision at the hip. A metal screw is inserted in the femoral head to stabilise it.
  • In situ fixation in the opposite hip. This will take place if your child's other hip is at risk of SCFE.
  • Open reduction for unstable SCFE (can't walk freely). An open incision is made at the hip. The femoral head is moved back to its natural position. One or two metal screws will be inserted to hold the bone in place.

Our Slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE) locations

Institute of Sport Exercise and Health (ISEH)

170 Tottenham Court Road W1T 7HA London
The Harley Street Clinic

The Harley Street Clinic

35 Weymouth Street W1G 8BJ London
The Portland Hospital

The Portland Hospital

205-209 Great Portland Street W1W 5AH London
The Princess Grace Hospital

The Princess Grace Hospital

42-52 Nottingham Place W1U 5NY London
The Lister Hospital

The Lister Hospital

Chelsea Bridge Road, SW1W 8RH London
The Shard Outpatients

The Shard Outpatients

The Shard, 32 St Thomas Street SE1 9BS London

Patient stories

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.