Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research®

, Volume 471, Issue 7, pp 2192–2198 | Cite as

Unstable SCFE: Review of Treatment Modalities and Prevalence of Osteonecrosis

  • Ira ZaltzEmail author
  • Geneva Baca
  • John C. Clohisy
Symposium: Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis: Update and Emerging Concepts



The treatment of unstable slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE) is rapidly evolving with the ability to correct epiphyseal alignment using the modified Dunn technique. Adopting a new treatment method depends on confirming that it achieves its goals, produces few, nonserious complications with no lasting sequelae, and improves the natural history of the disorder compared with known treatment methods. As such, the rates of osteonecrosis and complications after current treatments of unstable SCFE must be compared with those of newer surgical techniques.


We therefore addressed the following questions: (1) What is the rate of osteonecrosis of the femoral head after treatment of unstable SCFE? (2) What treatment modalities have been used for unstable SCFE and (3) what are the reported complications?


We performed a systematic electronic literature search for the keywords unstable and slipped capital femoral epiphysis and identified 199 articles. Of these, 60 met our inclusion criteria. Fifteen articles were included for analysis.


The literature concerning the treatment and results of unstable SCFE is retrospective Level IV data that suggest an overall rate of osteonecrosis of 23.9%. Multiple treatment modalities were used for unstable SCFE treatment with varying, inconsistently recorded complications over the reporting period.


We found limited data concerning the rate of osteonecrosis and complications after treatment of unstable SCFE. Considering recent widespread interest in the modified Dunn procedure and the possibility of iatrogenic osteonecrosis, there is a need for prospective studies to identify complications and establish outcome based on standardized scores for established and emerging treatments of unstable SCFE.


Osteonecrosis Slip Capital Femoral Epiphysis Cannulated Screw Spica Casting Unique Citation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© The Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons® 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryWilliam Beaumont HospitalRoyal OakUSA
  2. 2.Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryWashington UniversitySt LouisUSA

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