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Clavicle Fractures Treatment Options

Treatment options for clavicle fractures depend on the severity of the injury. In general, non-surgical treatment is preferred for most clavicle fractures, as they typically heal well without surgery within four to six months. However, in some cases, surgery may be necessary to ensure proper healing and to prevent long-term complications such as shoulder impingement or deformity. The best course of treatment will depend on the individual’s specific injury and overall health.

Non-surgical treatment

If the fracture is not severe, non-surgical treatments may be recommended. Non-surgical treatments includes:

  • Immobilization of the arm will be immobilized with a sling or figure-eight brace to support and protect the arm and shoulder while the fracture heals.
  • Over-the-counter pain medication can be taken to manage pain and inflammation.
  • Patients will begin physical therapy early to prevent shoulder and elbow stiffness.  Physical therapy exercises are necessary to reduce pain, strengthen the shoulder and restore range of motion.

Surgical treatment options

There are several surgical procedures that may be used to treat a clavicle fracture, depending on the severity and location of the fracture. Some of the most common surgical procedures include:

  1. Open Reduction and Internal Fixation (ORIF): This is the most common surgical treatment for clavicle fractures. During the procedure, an incision is made over the fracture, and the broken pieces of bone are realigned. Metal plates and screws are then used to hold the bone in place while it heals.
  2. Intramedullary Nailing: This is a less invasive surgical procedure that involves inserting a metal rod into the center of the clavicle to stabilize the fracture. The rod is held in place with screws on either end of the fracture.
  3. Plate and Screw Fixation: This is a variation of ORIF in which a metal plate is attached to the outer surface of the clavicle, and screws are used to hold the broken pieces of bone together.
  4. External Fixation: This is a less common surgical procedure that involves attaching pins or screws to the bone above and below the fracture, and then connecting them with an external frame to hold the bone in place while it heals.

The choice of surgical procedure will depend on the type and location of the fracture, as well as the patient’s overall health and medical history. Dr. Godin will review your treatment options with you based upon your activity level and demands. Surgery may be performed as an open or arthroscopic procedure.

Dr. Jonathan Godin is a renowned board-certified orthopedic surgeon and a leader in sports medicine. He received fellowship training in advanced arthroscopic and reconstructive surgical techniques for the treatment of complex orthopedic and sports related injuries at the distinguished Steadman Clinic in Vail Colorado. Contact Dr. Godin at his Vail, Frisco, or Edwards, Colorado office to schedule a consultation to receive the correct diagnosis and all your treatment options.

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