Diagnostic and Therapeutic Challenges of a Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis in a Low and Middle Income Country: A Case Report and Literature Review

Aimé Mbonda1, 2, *, Tchuenkam W Landry2, 3, Joel Noutakdie Tochie2, 3, Serges Abogo4, René Essomba1, 5
1 Department of Surgery, National social Insurance Fond hospital, Yaounde, Cameroon
2 Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Yaounde I, Cameroon
3 Department of Surgery and Specialties, Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Yaoundé I, Cameroon
4 Department of Radiologyy, National social Insurance Fond hospital, Yaounde, Cameroon
5 Higher Institute of Medical Technology, Yaounde, Cameroon



Slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE) is an incapacitating orthopedic disease, particularly affecting older children and adolescents and caused by the sliding of the proximal femoral epiphysis on the metaphysis. SCFE has a clinical polymorphism, compounded with a certain diagnostic variability among health practitioners and the relatively high cost of its surgical management contribute to the diagnostic delay observed in most developed countries as well as developing ones. Herein, we report the case of SCFE in an adolescent Cameroonian, with emphasis on its diagnostic and therapeutic challenges in low and middle-income countries (LMICs), in a bit to improve on timely recognition and management by clinicians in these settings.

Case Presentation:

A 10-year-old girl has presented with unilateral right thigh pain of more than one year duration associated with a limping gait and no fever. Before the referral to our health facility, she consulted several general practitioners in rural areas and pediatricians in the city with no definite diagnosis. On the basis of the clinical and the imaging studies, the diagnosis of stable right SCFE with moderate displacement was made. Under general anesthesia, the patient underwent open reduction and internal fixation with three pins under c-arm fluoroscopy. Clinical and radiological follow-up till one year after surgical intervention were satisfactory. The pins were removed after one year of fixation confirming a good bone fusion in plain x-ray. Her clinical examination and radiological follow-up three years after removal of the pins were satisfactory.


The case report illustrates that SCFE often a missed diagnosis in LMICs. This is worrisome because delayed diagnosis may lead to long-term complications such as avascular necrosis and early degenerative joint disease. Although the above case was missed by several clinicians and finally diagnose late, the present case highlights the need for a high index of clinical suspicion in order to timely diagnose and timely manage SCFE to avert potential long-term physical disabilities and psychological trauma in children.

Keywords: Slipped capital femoral epiphysis, Pin fixation, Low income Country, Clinical polymorphism, Proximal femoral epiphysis, C-arm fluoroscopy.

Abstract Information

Identifiers and Pagination:

Year: 2019
Volume: 13
Publisher Item Identifier: EA-TOORTHJ-2018-83

Article History:

Received Date: 24/11/2018
Revision Received Date: 27/02/2019
Acceptance Date: 06/03/2019
Electronic publication date: 19/03/2019
Collection year: 2019

© 2019 Mbonda et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode. This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Correspondence: Address correspondence to this author at the Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Yaounde I, Cameroon; Tel: +237697760387; E-mail: aimembonda450@gmail.com