Do I need my Clavicle Fixed?

The clavicle or "collar bone" is one of the most commonly broken bones of the upper extremity. It can be a cause of persistent pain and cosmetic deformity of the upper extremity. Historically, the majority of clavicle fractures were treated non-operatively in a sling and this is still an option for many patients today. However, studies have now demonstrated that some clavicle fractures respond better to surgery in terms of long term shoulder function.

The decision of whether or not to have a clavicle fracture fixed depends on your age, the location or the clavicle fracture, the amount of fracture displacement, and your overall health and activity level. Only a trained orthopedic surgeon can counsel you on the risks and benefits of allowing the clavicle to heal by itself versus fixing it with a surgery.

Factors favoring operative treatment

  • Significant fracture displacement
  • Significant fracture shortening
  • Displaced lateral third clavicle fractures
  • Open fractures

Factors favoring non-operative management

  • Minimal fracture displacement and shortening
  • Lateral third clavicle fractures with intact CC ligaments
  • Patients <18 yo
  • Poor overall patient health