The standard treatment of stable slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE) is generally accepted to be in situ pinning. Controversy exists regarding the treatment of unstable SCFE, including the role of a purposeful closed reduction or open reduction. The objective of this study was to investigate the rate of avascular necrosis (AVN) with purposeful closed reduction and in situ pinning of unstable SCFE. The authors retrospectively reviewed 221 patients with 302 SCFE hips treated with in situ pinning between 2000 and 2014. Forty-eight patients (50 hips) presented with an unstable SCFE. All unstable SCFEs were treated by a gentle reduction method with traction and hip internal rotation followed by pinning. Southwick angles were measured prior to reduction and at the first postoperative visit. No stable SCFEs developed AVN. Thirteen (26%) unstable SCFEs developed AVN. Avascular necrosis developed in 7 of 17 (41%) hips screened with magnetic resonance imaging vs 6 of 33 (18%) hips screened with plain radiographs alone. Mean change in South-wick angle was 28°±8° in the AVN group vs 18°±18° in the no AVN group (P=.18). Despite potentially inflating the rate with the use of early detection magnetic resonance imaging, the authors found an AVN rate comparable to that in the published literature with the use of gentle purposeful reduction on a fracture table, and no statistical differences in reduction amount between patients with and without AVN. Gentle purposeful reduction appears to be a reasonable low morbidity option in the treatment of unstable SCFE without a clear increase in risk of AVN. [Orthopedics. 2021;44(x):xx-xx.].
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