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J Bone Joint Surg Br. 2001 Sep;83(7):1046-9.

The timing of reduction and stabilisation of the acute, unstable, slipped upper femoral epiphysis.

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  • 1Southampton General Hospital and Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth, England.


We reviewed the management of 100 cases of slipped upper femoral epiphysis treated over a period of 26 years. A total of 14 slips was identified as unstable on admission. These underwent reduction and stabilisation within 24 hours of the onset of severe symptoms. Of the 86 stable slips four progressed to avascular necrosis (AVN), which was not seen in the unstable slips. The literature on slipped upper femoral epiphysis suggests that the acute unstable slip is at higher risk of developing AVN. We recommend reduction and stabilisation of unstable slips within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms in order to reduce the risk of AVN.

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