Clavicle fracture fixation
If the ends of the broken clavicle bone are still aligned (stable fracture) then you will most likely be able to avoid surgery by using nonsurgical treatment. The types of nonsurgical treatment for clavicle fracture include:
- Arm support – An arm sling or “figure-of-eight strap” isused for support and comfort after the break. This treatment method will keep your arm in position while the clavicle bone heals.
- Medication – Aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen are common anti-inflammatory pain medications that you can take in addition to narcotic analgesics to relieve the painful symptoms from the fracture.
- Physical therapy – While you are wearing a sling it is likely that you will lose muscle strength in your shoulder. Once the fracture begins to heal your doctor can show you shoulder and elbow exercises to increase the strength in your muscle. These exercises will decrease stiffness in the area as well.
As your fracture is healing, you'll need to see your doctor on a regular basis. Your doctor will provide physical exams and X-rays to monitor your healing progress and make sure everything is going according to plan.
If you have a displaced fracture (bones out of alignment) in your clavicle bone or the bone is completely shattered, then surgery most likely will be recommended. During the operation, the surgeon will properly realign the broken clavicle bone and remove any bone fragments from the area. Screws and/or a metal plate are then inserted over the clavicle bone to hold the fractured bones together while they heal. Plates and screws are not normally removed after the clavicle bone has healed, unless the patient is suffering from pain or irritation as a result.
The multidisciplinary team of shoulder and elbow experts at Northwell Health Orthopaedic Institute performs clavicle fracture repair as well as a broad range of nonsurgical and surgical treatments for conditions that affect the bones.