What is a clavicle fracture?
The clavicle (also known as the “collarbone”) is part of the shoulder that connects the arm to the sternum. Clavicles can easily be found at the base of the neck, extending out to the shoulders on each side, and function to hold the shoulder upward and backward. Breaking your collarbone is also known as a clavicle fracture, and it commonly occurs from a direct blow, fall, sports collision, or work-related injury. The clavicle is the most commonly broken bone in the shoulder.
How do I know if I need surgery?
Surgery for the fixation of clavicle fractures may be considered in the following circumstances:
- Significant displacement of the fracture with tenting of the overlying skin
- Overlapping of the broken ends of bone (shortened clavicle)
- Compound (open) fractures
- Fracture associated with nerve or blood vessel damage
- Non-union after several months of nonoperative treatment
- Multiple concurrent fractures
How are clavicle fractures repaired in surgery?
Dr. Potts typically performs clavicle fracture surgery with a technique known as Open Reduction and Internal Fixation (ORIF) with a plate and screws. During this surgical procedure, the broken ends of the clavicle are repositioned into normal alignment, and then held in place with a metal plate and screws. There are many advantages to surgical fixation of a broken collarbone, including: improved functional outcomes and less pain with overhead activity, faster time to union, improved cosmetic satisfaction, improved overall function, and increased shoulder strength and endurance.