Clavicle Fracture

Clavicle Fracture, Knee and Shoulder InstituteA clavicle fracture or broken collarbone, also known as a fracture of the clavicle bone, runs along the front of the shoulder to the breastbone or sternum in the middle of the chest.

Board certified orthopedic surgeons Dr. Steven Thomas and Dr. Gregory Bigler provide clavicle fracture treatments to patients in Las Vegas, Nevada and surrounding communities.

What is Clavicle?

The clavicle or collarbone refers to the bone that runs along the front of the shoulder to the breastbone or sternum at the front of the chest. It typically gets fractured because of a hard fall onto the shoulder itself or an outstretched arm or due to a collision with an adversary in a contact sport such as American Football or Rugby.

There is a higher possibility of injury if the playing surface is hard.

The bone typically fractures in its middle third. This condition is quite painful. The outer portion of the bone frequently gets pushed down with the inside portion displaced upwards.

In nearly 15 percent of injuries, a distal clavicle fracture occurs where the bone fractures nearer to the shoulder at the acromioclavicular joint. Such fractures have an extended recovery period and have a chance of nonunion.


This type of fracture typically occurs due to a fall onto an outstretched arm or the shoulder. The primary symptom of a clavicle fracture is a pain in the collarbone, which may be extreme. The patient may experience inflammation over the region, and a deformity of the bone may be felt.

The patient should seek immediate medical assistance if they suspect a broken collarbone. The surgeon will confirm the fracture using an x-ray. They will then immobilize the arm with a sling or collar, bandage, and cuff.

Surgical Treatment

A clavicle fracture surgery involves placing the broken bone fragments back into position and disallowing them from moving out till the fracture heals completely. After the patient recovers, this will help strengthen the shoulder.

Open Reduction and Internal Fixation is a standard surgery for the treatment of clavicle fractures. Firstly, the surgeon will reposition or reduce the fragments of the bone to their natural alignment. Subsequently, they will use special material hardware to ensure that the fragments of the bone are held in place. The Common internal fixation techniques involve plates and screws.

The surgeon attaches special screws and metal plates to the outer surface of the bone to hold the bone pieces in place after they are reduced into their normal alignment. After the surgery, the patient may experience a small patch of numb skin beneath the incision. This will become less noticeable after some time. It is possible that the patient may feel the plate from beneath the skin.

The plates and screws typically remain in their position even after recovery if the patient does not experience discomfort in the collarbone region. Sometimes the surgeon may use pins rather than plates to hold the fracture in place after the ends of the bone have been aligned.

Thomas & Bigler Knee and Shoulder Institute, led by board certified orthopedic surgeons, provides clavicle fracture treatments to patients in Las Vegas, Nevada and nearby areas.

If you would like to schedule an appointment or learn more about the Knee and Shoulder Institute procedures & treatments performed by Las Vegas, Nevada board certified surgeons Steven C. Thomas, MD and Gregory T. Bigler, MD. call (702)

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