Slip progression after in situ fixation of slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE) has been reported as occurring in up to 20% of patients. We review SCFE treated with in situ single screw fixation performed at 2 hospitals over a 15-year period to determine the factors associated with slip progression.
This case-control study reviews SCFE treated with in situ single cannulated screw fixation with minimum follow up of 1 year and full closure of the affected physis. Slip progression (failure) was defined as worsening of the Southwick slip angle of 10 or more degrees or revision surgery for symptomatic slip progression. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed comparing success and failure groups for patient characteristics, screw type and position, and radiographic measurements.
Ninety three patients with 108 slips met all criteria, with 15 hips (14%) classified as having slip progression (failure). All failures had 3 threads or fewer across the physis. Five hips had 2 threads across the physis, and 4 of the 5 were classified as failures. Lower modified Oxford bone scores were found in the failure group, though the difference was small (0.9, P=0.013). Failure was also associated with partially threaded screws (P=0.001). Failed hips were associated with lower initial Southwick angles (32.8 degrees) than successful hips (40.4 degrees) (P=0.047). In the stepwise model for multivariate regression, 4 factors were identified as significant, with lower initial number of threads (P<0.0001), mild initial Southwick category (P=0.0050), male sex (P=0.0061), and partially threaded screw type (P=0.0116) predicting failure.
This study is the largest to date evaluating risk factors for slip progression after SCFE fixation, and the first to consider revision surgery for symptomatic slip progression. For stable SCFE, we demonstrate that 4 threads across the physis with a fully threaded screw of 6.5 mm diameter or greater was sufficient to avoid slip progression. We provide a risk stratification for progression of slip showing that in some cases 3 threads across the physis may be sufficient.
Level of Evidence:
Level III—case-control study.