The Role of Capital Realignment Versus In Situ Stabilization for the Treatment of Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis

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Introduction:Slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE) can be treated by a variety of methods with the traditional method of in situ pin fixation being most commonly used. More recently, the Modified Dunn (Mod. Dunn) procedure consisting of capital realignment has been popularized as a treatment method for SCFE, particularly for more severe cases. Over the last 5 years, our institution has selectively used this method for more complex cases. The purpose of this article is to evaluate the differences between these 2 treatment methods in terms of avascular necrosis (AVN) rate, reoperation rate, and complication rate.Methods:Eighty-eight hips that were surgically treated for SCFE between July 2004 and June 2012 met our inclusion criteria. The in situ fixation group included 71 hips, whereas 17 hips were anatomically reduced with the Mod. Dunn procedure. Loder classification, severity, acuity, complication rate, and reoperation rate were determined for the 2 cohorts. The χ2 analysis was performed to evaluate the relationship between the treatment method and outcome.Results:As expected, stable slips did well with in situ pinning with no cases of AVN, even in more severe slips. Ten stable slips were treated with the Mod. Dunn approach and 2 (20%) developed AVN. Unstable slips were more difficult to treat with 3 of the 7 hips stabilized in situ developing AVN (43%). Two of the 7 unstable slips treated by the Mod. Dunn procedure developed AVN (29%). The other outcomes studied (reoperation rate and complication rate) were not significantly related to the surgical treatment method (P=0.732 and 0.261, respectively).Conclusions:In situ pinning remains a safe and predictable method for treatment of stable SCFE with no AVN noted, even in severe slips. Attempts to anatomically reduce stable slips led to severe AVN in 20% of cases, thus this treatment approach should be considered with caution. Treatment of unstable slips remains problematic with high AVN rates noted whether treated by in situ fixation or capital realignment (Mod. Dunn).Level of Evidence:Level III retrospective comparative study.

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