Patients with Symptomatic Sequelae of Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis Have Advanced Cartilage Wear at the Time of Surgical Intervention

Elizabeth G. Lieberman, Cecilia Pascual-Garrido, Wahid Abu-Amer, Jeffrey J. Nepple, Perry L. Shoenecker, John C. Clohisy

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10 Scopus citations


Background: Slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE) is a common hip problem in children. The resulting deformity can cause impingement similar to cam-type idiopathic femoroacetabular impingement (FAI). Although there are similarities between FAI and SCFE, deformity patterns, severity, and time of onset of symptoms varies, which may impact management. The purpose of this study was to describe patterns of articular cartilage damage in patients undergoing surgical hip dislocation for sequelae of SCFE in comparison to patients undergoing arthroscopic surgery for primary FAI. Methods: Patients were identified who underwent surgical treatment for hip pain due to primary FAI (cam type) or sequelae of SCFE. Clinical data and radiographic measurements were recorded. Cartilage was assessed intraoperatively. Severity was classified using the modified Beck classification, while location was classified into 6 sectors. Statistical analysis was performed to test for differences in demographic and radiographic characteristics between the SCFE and FAI patients. ?2or Fisher exact tests were used to evaluate trends in patterns of acetabular and femoral cartilage wear between SCFE and FAI groups. Results: The SCFE group had 28 hips compared with 304 in the FAI group. SCFE patients were younger (19 vs. 32, P<0.001), had higher body mass index (30±5.9 vs. 24±4.8, P<0.001), and were more often male (61% vs. 27%, P<0.001). Deformity severity based on a-angle was higher in the SCFE group [AP 74 vs. 55 (P=0.001) and Dunn 72 vs. 58 (P<0.001)]. There were no significant differences with regards to lateral center edge angle, anterior center edge angle, or Tonnis angle. In both groups the most common locations for cartilage lesions in both groups were the anterior peripheral and superolateral peripheral regions with fewer but more widely distributed femoral head lesions. The SCFE group had higher rates of femoral head and superolateral central cartilage lesions compared with the FAI group. There was no statistical difference between high-grade femoral or acetabular cartilage lesions between groups. Conclusions: Patients with SCFE were younger at the time of surgery and presented with more severe deformity based on radiographic a-angle compared to patients with FAI. Our results suggest higher prevalence of femoral head lesions and more diffuse cartilage injury in patients with SCFE. This study can be used to support early surgical intervention in patients with symptomatic sequelae of SCFE due to risk of premature joint damage. Level of Evidence: Level III - prognostic study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e398-e403
JournalJournal of Pediatric Orthopaedics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • FAI
  • SCFE
  • femoroacetabular impingement
  • hip
  • slipped capital femoral epiphysis


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