Bilateral unstable slipped capital femoral epiphysis: A look at risk factors

José A. Herrera-Sota, Kelly L. VanderHave, Eric Gordon, Jorge Fabregas, Jonathan H. Phillips, Perry Schoenecker, Klaus Parsch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Unstable slipped capital femoral epiphysis can have disastrous complications including osteonecrosis and chondrolysis. It has been shown that 20% to 80% of patients may develop a contralateral slip <18 months after diagnosis. The purpose of this article is to report and characterize patients who developed bilateral unstable slips. After Institutional Review Board approval, the patients included were only those with bilateral unstable slipped capital femoral epiphyses. A minimum 2-year follow-up was required. Seven patients, all female, were included in the study, with an average age of 11.4 years at the time of their first slips. The interval between slips averaged 127 days (range, 0-245 days). All but 1 patient presented with a severe slip. The second slip was also severe in 3 patients and less severe in 4 patients. The triradiate cartilage was open in 3 patients. Two patients required corrective osteotomies. Chondrolysis developed in 2 patients with no osteonecrosis reported. The incidence of bilateral unstable slips ranged from 4% to 20% of all unstable slipped capital femoral epiphyses based on our findings. Skeletal immaturity was not a risk factor. The surgeon must be vigilant for the possibility of bilateral slips. The family must be instructed on precautions patients must take while recuperating from unstable slipped capital femoral epiphyses. Contralateral fixation of the unaffected side may be warranted in patients with initial severe unstable slipped capital femoral epiphyses to prevent this condition.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2011


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