Subtle Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis Is not Associated with Idiopathic Cam Morphology

William Z. Morris, Ryan J. Furdock, Roger T. Yuh, Katherine Xie, Cody A. Fowers, Raymond W. Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The etiology of idiopathic cam morphology remains unclear. One theory suggests that subtle slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE) leads to proximal femoral changes resulting in cam morphology. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the association between subtle SCFE and cam morphology in a large osteological collection. Methods: We examined 962 cadaveric hips to measure 2 markers of cam morphology, alpha angle and anterior femoral head-neck offset (AHNO), and a validated, objective marker of subtle SCFE deformity (calcar ridge line offset). When the femur is viewed medially, the calcar ridge line extends from the lesser trochanter proximally along the postero-inferior femoral neck and points toward the fovea. In SCFE-like deformity, the fovea deviates posteriorly from this projected line. Pearson correlations were performed to evaluate for possible association of calcar ridge line offset with alpha angle and AHNO. In addition, a multiple regression analysis was performed to determine the influence of age, alpha angle, and AHNO on calcar ridge line offset. Results: There was no clinically relevant association between the calcar ridge line offset and alpha angle (r=-0.02, P=0.58) or AHNO (r=0.08, P=0.012). Furthermore, specimens whose calcar ridge line deviated 1 SD above the mean (more SCFE-like deformity) had a smaller alpha angle (46.6±9.1 vs. 48.3±10.6, P=0.046) and greater AHNO (0.83±0.19 vs. 0.77±0.16, P<0.001), both reflecting less cam-like morphology. On regression analysis, increasing age and increasing AHNO (decreased cam morphology) predicted increased calcar ridge line offset, though the model accounted for only 1.2% of the variance. Conclusions: Subtle SCFE-like deformity, as objectively measured from the calcar ridge line, was not predictive of more cam-like morphology, and in fact mild opposite associations were found. Further study is needed to identify other potential etiologies of idiopathic cam morphology. Clinical Relevance: We present evidence from a large, well-documented osteological collection indicating that subtle SCFE is not associated with idiopathic cam morphology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)216-220
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Pediatric Orthopaedics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • Cam
  • Hip
  • SCFE

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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