Outcomes following subcapital osteotomy for severe slipped upper femoral epiphysis

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Slipped upper femoral epiphysis (SUFE) is the most common hip disorder to affect adolescents. Controversy exists over the optimal treatment of severe slips, with a continuing debate betweenin situfixationversuscorrective surgery. We present our experience in a series of 57 patients presenting with severe unilateral SUFE (defined > 50°) managed with a subcapital cuneiform osteotomy.

Between 2001 and 2011, 57 patients (35 male, 22 female) with a mean age of 13.1 years (9.6 to 20.3, SD 2.3) were referred to our tertiary referral institution with a severe slip. The affected limb was rested in slings and springs before corrective surgery which was performed via an anterior Smith-Petersen approach. Radiographic analysis confirmed an improvement in mean head-shaft slip angle from 53.8° (standard deviation (sd) 3.2) preoperatively to 9.1o (SD 3.1) post-operatively, with minimal associated femoral neck shortening. In total 50 (88%) patients were complication free at a mean follow-up of seven years (2.8 to 13.9 years, SD 3). Their mean Oxford hip score was 44 (37 to 48) and median visual analogue pain score was 0 out of 10 (interquartile range 0 to 4). A total of six patients (10.5%) developed avascular necrosis requiring further surgery and one (1.8%) patient developed chondrolysis but declined further intervention.

This is a technically demanding operation with variable outcomes reported in the literature. We have demonstrated good results in our tertiary centre.

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