A break in the collarbone is known as a clavicle fracture. Nearly five percent of all adult fractures are clavicle fractures. Most of these fractures can be treated by providing a sling that restricts the movement of the arm and shoulder while the bone heals. But if the bone pieces have shifted to other areas of your body, surgery may be required to realign the collarbone.
Astute and hardworking Board certified orthopedic surgeons Dr. Steven Thomas and Dr. Gregory Bigler of the Thomas & Bigler Knee & Shoulder Institute provide treatments for clavicle fracture to patients in Las Vegas, Nevada, and surrounding locations across the vast horizon.
Most broken collarbones can heal without surgery once it is determined that the broken ends of the bone have not significantly moved away from their position. Non-surgical procedure may include:
The surgeon will normally provide a simple arm sling for comfort immediately after the fracture in order to keep the arm and shoulder in position while the healing of the bone occurs.
Pain medication, including acetaminophen, may be prescribed by the surgeon to provide relief from pain as the fracture heals.
Physical therapy will initially cause some discomfort, but it is essential to maintain arm motion to prevent stiffness. Patients will often start doing elbow motion exercises immediately after the injury.
Surgery for a clavicle fracture will involve putting the broken pieces of the bone back into place and preventing them from shifting out until the fracture is fully healed. This will help to improve shoulder strength once the patient has recovered.
Open Reduction and Internal Fixation is a common surgical procedure to treat clavicle fractures. The surgeon will first reposition or reduce the bone fragments into their normal alignment. Thereafter, the bone pieces will be held in place using special material hardware. Common internal fixation methods include plates and screws.
Special screws and metal plates are attached to the bone’s outer surface in order to hold the bone fragments in place once they are reduced into their normal alignment. Following the procedure, the patient may have a minor patch of numb skin under the incision, which will become less conspicuous with time. The patient may be able to feel the plate through the skin.
Screws and plates are usually left in their place even after the bone has healed, unless the patient experiences discomfort in the collarbone area. Instead of plates, the surgeon may sometimes use pins to hold the fracture in position once the bone ends have been put back in place. The pins will usually involve small incisions than the ones used for plates. Pins or screws are often removed once the fracture has healed because they can irritate the skin where they have been placed.
The movement of the shoulder can be restored and its strength improved with specific physical exercises. The surgeon may recommend a home therapy plan or suggest working with a physical therapist. Board certified orthopedic surgeons Dr. Thomas and Dr. Bigler receive patients from Las Vegas, Nevada and other cities and neighborhoods in this part of The Silver State for clavicle fracture treatments.
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) 933-9393; Physical Therapy (702) 933-9393.