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  Oct 13, 2018

Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis (SCFE): Stable and Unstable

A slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE) is a condition in which the head of the femur separates from the adjacent growth plate or epiphysis at the upper end of the femur.

It is found to occur over time and invariably in children and adolescents, most often between the ages of 12 and 14 years in boys, and 10-14 years in girls. This is the time period before skeletal maturity is achieved. The direction of slippage is usually backward.

As a result the joint becomes painful, stiff, and often unstable. It is a slowly developing condition in most patients, and occurs more often in boys than in girls. On occasion it may be due to a traumatic separation of the epiphysis. One or both hips may be affected.

Children younger than about 10 years are more likely to develop SCFE on the opposite side to that first involved, and the prevalence in this group is about 40%. The second side is affected within 18 months of the first in a majority of these patients. The overall incidence of this condition is about 2 in 100,000.