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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter January 14, 2016

Slipped capital femoral epiphysis and associated hypothyroidism. A review of the literature with two classic case examples

  • James Moyer EMAIL logo , Laura Jacks , Janel Darcy Hunter and Gilbert Chan


Slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE) is a relatively common hip disorder often seen in overweight, peripubertal children. Although the exact etiology is uncertain, it is generally accepted that underlying endocrinopathies play a role in the pathogenesis. Hypothyroidism is the endocrine disorder cited most commonly in association with SCFE, and patients often have no history of thyroid dysfunction at the time of presentation. Despite being a well-recognized risk factor, recommendations for screening thyroid function in patients with typical presentations of SCFE have not been deemed cost-effective; however, there is data to support screening for hypothyroidism in patients with atypical presentations of SCFE or short stature. Hypothyroidism may have a significant impact on healing and bone union after surgical management of SCFE and there is a paucity of case reports in the literature describing potential peri- and postoperative complications. We performed a systematic review of the literature of all reported cases of SCFE with associated hypothyroidism using the search terms, which demonstrated a physiologic relationship between hypothyroidism and SCFE. Two case reports of SCFE in patients with hypothyroidism and associated complications are presented with the literature review. There is a physiologic relationship between thyroid dysfunction and SCFE, and we postulate that profound hypothyroidism may contribute to delayed healing or nonunion in patients undergoing operative management. We support the recommendation to screen patients with short stature, atypical presentation of SCFE, or perisistent nonunion after surgery. In cases of hypothyroidism, we recommend thyroid hormone replacement and laboratory confirmation of return to euthyroid state prior to operative intervention.

Corresponding author: James Moyer, MD, Children’s Orthopedics of Louisville, Norton Medical Plaza I – Suburban, Suite 6F, 3999 Dutchman’s Lane, Louisville, KY 40207, USA, Phone: +502-394-5678, Fax +502-394-5600


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Received: 2015-8-4
Accepted: 2015-11-2
Published Online: 2016-1-14
Published in Print: 2016-4-1

©2016 by De Gruyter

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