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Diagnosis

COLLAR BONE FRACTURE

(Clavicle Fracture)


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Check out EMEDx.com by Dr. Allan Mishra

 Definition A break of the clavicle bone located between the shoulder and the chest.

Diagram of Normal Shoulder
Details The clavicle (collar bone) is one of the most commonly fractured bones. It acts like a strut between the breast bone in the center of the chest and the shoulder bones. It is very close to the skin and can be injured in a variety of ways.
Causes The most common ways to break the clavicle (collar bone) are via a fall or from a direct blow to the bone. Almost any sport can be associated with clavicle (collar bone) fractures. Football, rugby and hockey are the most common.
Diagnosis A clavicle (collar bone) fracture is diagnosed with a history of a fall associated with pain and deformity around the shoulder. Typically, there is some swelling and tenderness associated with the fracture. X-rays are used to confirm the fracture. Rarely, further investigation by an CT scan may be needed.

X-rays of Normal and Fractured Collar Bones (Clavicle)
Treatment Nonoperative: Most clavicle fractures can be treated with a sling or a figure 8 splint. The typical time to healing is 8-10 weeks. Restriction of activity during that time period is important for healing.

Operative: Occasionally, surgery is needed. The indications for surgery include fractures where the bone pokes through the skin, severely displaced fractures and some fractures of the outer part of the collar bone. The surgery usually involves some form of a pin or a plate and screws.

Picture of a severe fracture with impending skin compromise

Pictures of a severe collar bone fracture treated with a plate and screws

Intraoperative pictures of surgery showing plate, screws and nerves

Animations of a patient's shoulder range of motion, 10 weeks after surgery
Prevention

Maintaining excellent strength, stability, and flexibility of the shoulder and upper back muscles may help prevent some fractures.


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