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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Nonoperative treatment of slipped capital femoral epiphysis: a scientific study

Pedro Carlos MS Pinheiro

Author Affiliations

Post-Graduation Departament of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, (UFRJ) and Jesus Children's Hospital, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research 2011, 6:10  doi:10.1186/1749-799X-6-10

Published: 19 February 2011



Treatment of the Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis remains a cause of concern due to the fact that the true knowledge of the etiopathogeny is unknown, as well as one of its major complications: chondrolysis. The conservative treatment remains controversial; it has been overlooked in the studies and subjected to intense criticism. The purpose of this study is to investigate the results of treatment on the hip of patients displaying slipped capital femoral epiphysis, using the plaster cast immobilization method and its link to chondrolysis.


The research was performed based on the study of the following variables: symptomatology, and the degree of slipping. A hip spica cast and bilateral short/long leg casts in abduction, internal rotation with anti-rotational bars were used for immobilizing the patient's hip for twelve weeks. Statistical analysis was accomplished by Wilcoxon's marked position test and by the Fisher accuracy test at a 5% level.


A satisfactory result was obtained in the acute group, 70.5%; 94%; in the chronic group (chronic + acute on chronic). Regarding the degree of the slipping, a satisfactory result was obtained in 90.5% of hips tested with a mild slip; in 76% with moderate slip and 73% in the severe slip. The statistical result revealed that a significant improvement was found for flexion (p = 0.0001), abduction (p = 0.0001), internal rotation (p = 0.0001) and external rotation (p = 0.02). Chondrolysis was present in 11.3% of the hips tested. One case of pseudoarthrosis with aseptic capital necrosis was presented. There was no significant variation between age and chondrolysis (p = 1.00).Significant variation between gender/non-white patients versus chondrolysis (p = 0.031) and (p = 0.037), respectively was verified.

No causal association between plaster cast and chondrolysis was observed (p = 0.60). In regard to the symptomatology group and the slip degree versus chondrolysis, the p value was not statistically significant in both analyses, p = 0.61 and p = 0.085 respectively.


After analyzing the nonoperative treatment of slipped capital femoral epiphysis and chondrolysis, we conclude that employment of the treatment revealed that the method was functional, efficient, valid, and reproducible; it also can be used as an alternative therapeutic procedure regarding to this specific disease.