, Volume 471, Issue 7, pp 2156-2162
Date: 09 Feb 2013

Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis: Relevant Pathophysiological Findings With Open Surgery

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Topic
Hip

Abstract

Background

Traditionally arthrotomy has rarely been performed during surgery for slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE). As a result, most pathophysiological information about the articular surfaces was derived clinically and radiographically. Novel insights regarding deformity-induced damage and epiphyseal perfusion became available with surgical hip dislocation.

Questions/purposes

We (1) determined the influence of chronicity of prodromal symptoms and severity of SCFE deformity on severity of cartilage damage. (2) In surgically confirmed disconnected epiphyses, we determined the influence of injury and time to surgery on epiphyseal perfusion; and (3) the frequency of new bone at the posterior neck potentially reducing perfusion during epimetaphyseal reduction.

Methods

We reviewed 116 patients with 119 SCFE and available records treated between 1996 and 2011. Acetabular cartilage damage was graded as +/++/+++ in 109 of the 119 hips. Epiphyseal perfusion was determined with laser-Doppler flowmetry at capsulotomy and after reduction. Information about bone at the posterior neck was retrieved from operative reports.

Results

Ninety-seven of 109 hips (89%) had documented cartilage damage; severity was not associated with higher slip angle or chronicity; disconnected epiphyses had less damage. Temporary or definitive cessation of perfusion in disconnected epiphyses increased with time to surgery; posterior bone resection improved the perfusion. In one necrosis, the retinaculum was ruptured; two were in the group with the longest time interval. Posterior bone formation is frequent in disconnected epiphyses, even without prodromal periods.

Conclusions

Addressing the cause of cartilage damage (cam impingement) should become an integral part of SCFE surgery. Early surgery for disconnected epiphyses appears to reduce the risk of necrosis. Slip reduction without resection of posterior bone apposition may jeopardize epiphyseal perfusion.

Level of Evidence

Level IV, retrospective case series. See Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Each author certifies that he or she, or a member of his or her immediate family, has no funding or commercial associations (eg, consultancies, stock ownership, equity interest, patent/licensing arrangements, etc) that might pose a conflict of interest in connection with the submitted article.
All ICMJE Conflict of Interest Forms for authors and Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research editors and board members are on file with the publication and can be viewed on request.
Each author certifies that his or her institution approved the human protocol for this investigation, that all investigations were conducted in conformity with ethical principles of research, and that informed consent for participation in the study was obtained.
This work was performed at the Inselspital, Berne, Switzerland; Schulthess Clinic, Zürich, Switzerland; and the Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.