Slipped capital femoral epiphysis: long-term outcome and remodelling after in situ fixation

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In primary treatment of slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE) in situ fixation reliably prevents slip progression. The aim of this study was to examine the long-term outcome of SCFE-patients treated by transfixation with Kirschner wires with a special focus on the remodelling process of the hips under this fixation method.


30 patients with stable SCFE (mean initial slip angle: 29°, mean follow-up: 10 years), who were treated with bilateral transfixation by Kirschner wires, were recruited for this study. At most recent follow-up patients were clinically and radiologically (X-ray and MRI) examined. Medical records were reviewed for previous follow-up time points.


Range of motion: At most recent follow-up the mean range of motion was: extension/flexion: 0/0/121, abduction/adduction: 44/0/31, external rotation/internal rotation: 39/0/24. Nearly all dimensions of motion significantly improved during the postoperative course.


Head-shaft angle: We saw a significant reduction of the mean head-shaft angle from 29° preoperatively to 11° at most recent follow-up (p<0.0001).


Harris Hip Score (HHS): 24 patients had an excellent, 3 a good, 2 a fair and 1 a poor outcome defined by HHS.


Remodelling: At most recent follow-up 25 patients achieved complete remodelling. The remodelling process took place especially during the first postoperative year.


Angle alpha: The mean angle alpha of the affected hips at most recent follow-up was 62°.


Transfixation with Kirschner wires leads to very good clinical, functional and radiologic results with a low complication rate. Furthermore the femoral head-neck junction retains enough plasticity for an active remodelling process.

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