Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis (SCFE)

At Children’s Health℠ Andrews Institute, our highly skilled team of orthopaedic experts treats the full range of pediatric hip conditions, including slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE). We offer the best technology and techniques available for every aspect of your child’s SCFE treatment.

What is Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis (SCFE)?

Slipped capital femoral epiphysis is a hip condition that affects children. In SCFE, the head of the thighbone slips off the neck of the thighbone. This condition causes the hip joint to become painful, stiff and weak.

Fortunately, when caught early, most cases of SCFE can be treated successfully with surgery. Our surgeons specialize in minimally invasive procedures like arthroscopy and use sophisticated techniques that protect your child’s growing bones.

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

Risk factors 

Some children are at higher risk than others for developing SCFE.

  • Age: As children approach their teenage years, their risk for SCFE increases.
  • Gender: Boys are more likely than girls to have SCFE.
  • Obesity
  • Previous family history of SCFE

Signs and symptoms of SCFE may include:

  • Stiffness
  • Discomfort walking
  • Limping
  • Limited range of motion in the hips and legs
  • Pain in the groin, hip, thigh or knee, especially with activity
  • Feeling as if the leg is giving out, “locking” or “catching”

How is Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis (SCFE) diagnosed?

At the Andrews Institute, our experienced physicians start with a physical exam of your child’s hip. We may also order imaging scans to confirm the diagnosis and look for other hip injuries.

Diagnostic testing may include:

  • X-ray: Uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to take detailed images of the hips, checking for any displacement at the head of the thighbone
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan: Uses magnetic fields and radio waves to take detailed pictures of the hip joint, checking for any soft tissue damage

How is Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis (SCFE) treated?

If your child is diagnosed with SCFE, they will need surgery. Our specialists work together to develop the most effective treatment for your child’s individual needs. Treatment options depend on several factors, including:

  • Severity of the injury
  • Age and skeletal development

During surgery, your child’s physician will stabilize the bone that slipped — usually by placing at least one screw into the hip, preventing the ball from sliding any farther.

Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis (SCFE) Doctors and Providers

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What’s the long-term outlook for children with SCFE?

    When slipped capital femoral epiphysis is detected and treated early, good outcomes are likely.

    If SCFE is left untreated, children may develop limb length discrepancies and other hip problems as adults. 


Learn more about SCFE in children: