How is slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE) diagnosed?
A slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE) is diagnosed based on history, physical exam and X-ray. If your child has SCFE, a physical exam will produce pain and limited range of motion. Your child will most likely want to keep his or her hip rotated outward (knee away from the body), and it will be difficult for the doctor to rotate the leg in (knee towards the body).
As you’re looking at your child’s X-ray, SCFE is apparent on X-ray as the head of the femur (thigh bone) will appear to be slipping off the femur bone. It looks like a scoop of ice cream melting off the cone.
If a SCFE is hard to determine based on X-ray, your doctor at Children’s Colorado may order an MRI for further evaluation. In some severe cases a CT scan (or CAT scan) may be necessary to better evaluate the bony deformity.
Why choose Children’s Colorado for SCFE tests?
In our Hip Program at Children’s Hospital Colorado, we have orthopedic doctors who are specialized in pediatric hips. We use X-rays, CT scans and MRI to determine a diagnosis. The hospital has very advanced, state-of-the-art MRI technique that provides the doctor with a more accurate measurement of the health of the cartilage in the hip.
What can you and your child expect from these tests?
X-rays are taken in our clinic during your appointment with your child’s doctor. CT and MRI scans are performed in the radiology department. The CT scans take approximately 15 minutes to complete. The MRI in patients older than 6 years old is typically not a sedated procedure and lasts approximately 45 minutes to one hour. The MRI sometimes requires IV placement of contrast before the scan is done. If your child does need an MRI, feel free to bring a movie or music and have him or her wear comfy clothes.
How do providers at Children’s Hospital Colorado make a diagnosis?
Our doctors are able to diagnose your child based on their patient history, findings from the physical examination, and results of the ordered imaging studies.