How is a clavicle fracture repair done?
Clavicle fracture repair or open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) places the bones back in their original position and allows them to heal in a normal alignment. A surgical procedure called open reduction and internal fixation is a proven successful technique to treat clavicle fractures. During the procedure, the bone fragments are first repositioned (reduced) into their normal alignment. The pieces of bone are then held in place with special metal hardware. Common methods of internal fixation include:
- Plates and screws – The bone fragments are repositioned into their normal alignment and are held in place with special plates and metal screws attached to the outer surface of the bone.
- Long Pin – Also called intramedullary nailing, a long pin is placed in the center of the bone and held in place to allow proper healing of the bone.
Some patients may request to have the hardware (plate and screws) removed, but this will not be performed until the fracture is fully healed; and typically is only necessary if the hardware results in any discomfort.
What is the recovery time after clavicle fracture repair surgery?
Many patients experience improved comfort and function of their shoulder sooner with clavicle fracture repair surgery than they would by letting the fracture heal on its own – particularly if the fracture is displaced, in many small pieces (comminuted), or shortened. Surgery ensures proper alignment and healing of the bone and will allow patients light use of their arm within four to six weeks of their surgery. The use of a sling can be required for two to six weeks depending on the characteristics of the clavicle fracture. Physical therapy is often not required for this type of surgery. Many patients who undergo clavicle fracture repair at The Shoulder Clinic of Idaho can expect to return to their normal activities in approximately three months.
For additional information on clavicle fracture repair or to learn if you are an ideal candidate for surgical treatment of a broken collarbone, please contact the orthopedic shoulder surgeons at The Shoulder Clinic of Idaho, serving patients in Boise, Meridian, Nampa, and the surrounding communities of the Treasure Valley.