Slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE)

Fracture through the growth plate resulting in slippage of the overlaying end of the femur

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

  • What are the symptoms of SCFE? icon plus

    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
  • How is SCFE diagnosed? icon plus

    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.
  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    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 orthopaedic paediatric consultants

We're proud to work with leading orthopaedic consultants who have experience in managing orthopaedic conditions in children and childhood conditions.

Our locations

From complex hip surgery to diagnostic tests and procedures, we provide exceptional orthopaedic care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Request an orthopaedic appointment for your child

We're happy to help you make an appointment with one of our experienced paediatric consultants who specialise in orthopaedics. We can also make imaging and outpatient physiotherapy appointments for you.

Call us today

020 7079 4344
This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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