Dr. Chen’s presentation on clavicle fractures:
A surgical procedure performed to realign and fixate a broken clavicle (collar bone). An incision is made to expose the broken bone. The bone fragments are then brought into alignment and fit with a metal plate and screws to keep them stable while they heal together.
Common Questions about Clavicle Fracture Repair
When should a clavicle fracture be treated surgically?
When the fracture is overlapped 2 cm or more or 100 percent displaced surgical treatment is acceptable. Other indications include tenting of the skin, an open fracture, a vascular injury, a special "Z" fracture pattern, a "floating shoulder" when there is also fracture to the scapula, or when the patient needs early shoulder strength to mobilize such as having a fracture to the lower extremity on the same side of the body.
How long does it take for a clavicle fracture to heal?
Fractures take 8 weeks to heal whether or not they are treated with surgery.
Is there a special way to splint a clavicle fracture?
There is no data showing that any special splinting technique will make a clavicle fracture heal better.
What are some complications from clavicle fracture surgery?
The most common complication is prominence of the plate after the surgery. A low profile plate is used to minimize this. About 10 to 15 percent of patients have a second surgery to remove the plate. Other complications include non-healing of the fracture, a numb patch around the incision site, an infection.
What is the rehabilitation after a clavicle fracture surgery?
A sling is worn for 4 weeks followed by physical therapy for 2 to 3 months.