Slipped capital femoral epiphysis


  • Abbreviation: SCFE
  • Most common cause of hip disability in adolescents
  • Head of femur displaces from epiphysis
  • Common complications: avascular necrosis of femoral head (increased risk with high grade slip), arthritis

Risk Factors

  • Obesity
  • Black patients
  • Male:female (3:1)
  • During growth spurt (m=13y f=11y)
  • Left hip more common
  • Associated with endocrine disorders
    • Hypothyroid common
    • high clinical concern for <10 yrs of age

Clinical Features

  • Mild to severe pain hip pain (may have referred knee pain)
  • abnormal gait
  • Limp, weakness, thigh atrophy
  • externally rotated hip
  • loss of internal rotation, abduction, and flexion
  • May present as acute, chronic, or acute on chronic (following trauma)

Differential Diagnosis

Pediatric hip pain


X-ray showing a slipped capital femoral epiphysis, before and after surgical fixation.
  • Plain radiographs of the hip (bilat AP and Frog Leg views)
    • Widened physis (early finding)
    • Displacement of femoral neck to head (late finding)
    • Frog Leg view of both sides: up to 40% have bilateral involvement [1]
  • Klein's line
A normal and abnormal epiphyseal line as described by Klein et al. in an 11 year 6 month old boy with a left SCFE. Proximal prolongation of the superior neck line transects the epiphysis in the normal hip (right) but either lies flush with or does not transect the epiphysis in SCFE (left hip).
    • Line from superior cortex of femoral neck parallel to greater trochanter
    • Normally should cross through 1/3 of femoral head
  • May require MRI in ambiguous cases


  • Orthopedic surgery consultation in ED
  • Non-weight bearing
  • Internal fixation


  • Admit

External Links

See Also


  1. Mick N. Pediatric orthopedic emergencies. In: Bond M, ed. Orthopedic Emergencies: Expert Management for the Emergency Physician. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; October 31, 2013.