Clavicle (Collarbone) Fractures Treatment

Clavicle (collarbone) fractures are quite common injuries. If a clavicle fracture isn’t considerably displaced (moved) or angled (bent), then it can be treated in a sling for six weeks. For persons who do a lot of desk work, a ‘figure-8’ brace that leaves the arms free is most popular.

If a clavicle fracture is shortened 1.5 cm or more, considerable displaced (so that there is no bony contact), considerably angled (bent) or comminuted (in several parts), then it will probably be better if it’s surgically repaired (with the use of orthopedic implants), especially in an active person. If the clavicle fracture can heal in a shortened, in an otherwise unsatisfying condition, shoulder pain, decreased endurance, stiffness, dysfunction, and weakness can occur, especially while overhead activities or activities requiring shoulder strength. And once a clavicle fracture is cured in a shortened or otherwise unacceptable position, the shoulder muscles and shoulder blade may contract and become permanently too short, or stretch to become permanently too long, depending on how the clavicle fracture cured. This may result in a loss of endurance and permanent weakness, even if the clavicle fracture is treated later. Like most injuries, the most effective chance to get a good result is early after the injury occurs.

Surgical restoration of a clavicle fracture is done as an outpatient, same-day, surgery. The most effective way to fix most severe clavicle fractures is by utilizing specially molded orthopedic bone plates that adjust to the clavicle. After surgery, deskwork and computer use can be done the next day. Bath Shower is fine three days after surgery, at which point wrist, elbow and hand motion may start. Active use of the shoulder should be avoided for 4 to 6 weeks, and during that time a sling should be worn publicly for protection. Clavicles usually take three months to heal. ACT (cat) scan is usually ordered 6 to 12 weeks after surgery to make sure that the bone is healed properly. The surgical intervention requires various specialized orthopedic instruments that can be obtained from the manufacturer of orthopedic implants & instruments. Most patients often do very well after clavicle fracture repair.

Smoking significantly increases the risk of clavicle fracture not healing (i.e. going on to ‘non-union’).

An unhealed clavicle fracture (clavicle non-union), is a more tough problem to fix. Clavicle non-unions often involve a point of shortening and deformity, which can be difficult to completely correct. In order to fix a clavicle non-union, it is usually essential to take bone from the iliac crest (the rim of bone above the hip). Taking bone graft from the iliac crest is somewhat painful, though with newer orthopedic instruments this can be done utilizing a minimally invasive technique, thus it is not as bad as it I used to be. A specialized plate is utilized to stabilize the clavicle non-union. Nearly 3-4 months after surgery, a CT scan will be ordered to confirm that the clavicle non-union has cured.

In conclusion, most clavicle fractures often do not need surgical fixation, but when they do, modern orthopedic equipment and techniques help produce an excellent outcome in majority of cases.

The orthopedic implants and instruments used in clavicle fracture are provided by the Siora Surgicals Pvt. Ltd. Our catalog of Helix Locking System includes these implants and instruments. The locking superior anterior clavicle plate, locking clavicle hook plate, locking anterior clavicle plate ‘S’ shape, locking head screw 2.7 mm and locking head screw 3.5 mm are used in the treatment of clavicle fracture.

TOP