The shoulder consists of bones, ligaments and tendons. The most common bones to fracture in the shoulder is the Humerus, Glenoid, Scapula and Clavicle.
Fractures are usually caused by injuries which can include falls or sport injuries. You will have pain in the shoulder with a Clavicle fracture.
A doctor can diagnose it by a clinical examination and it can usually be confirmed on X-ray. With an Open fracture the bone will protrude from the shoulder. Closed fracture is usually diagnosed with x-rays.
Treatment may vary, depending on the type of fracture. If you have a clavicle fracture that is not displaced meaning that the bones align even with the fracture – you may be treated conservatively in a sling. The sling will be worn for 6 weeks where after an x-ray will be taken to see if acceptable bone formation and healing has taken place. If you have a displaced fracture, in other words if the bones are not aligning properly, you will require surgery to align and keep the bones aligned for healing.
Under general anaesthesia, and Open Reduction Internal Fixation (ORIF) is done. An incision is made and a plate and screws are fixated to align the Clavicle and keep them in place.
You will be sent home with pain medication to help with pain relief. You will be required to wear a sling for 6 weeks after surgery to minimize movement of the shoulder. After the six weeks you will start with Physiotherapy. It is advised that the plate is removed 6 – 12 months after surgery.
These are fortunately rare, but as with all surgery, may occur. These include infection, pain associated to the Plate and screws and Mal-union or Non-Union of the bones.
These problems, although rare and unwanted, can usually be treated.