Open reduction and internal fixation of clavicular fractures.

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Extensive clinical studies reported in the literature have indicated that non-operative treatment is the treatment of choice for clavicular fractures. It has also been suggested by some that open reduction may contribute to the development of non-union. From 1970 to 1978, twenty-five of approximately 800 patients with a fracture of the clavicle were treated by open reduction and internal fixation with a threaded intramedullary wire or pin or with cerclage suture (one case). The patients' ages ranged from thirteen to fifty-nine years. All fractures healed without infection or migration of the pin. Based on this experience and a review of the English-language literature, we concluded that the indications for open reduction and internal fixation should be: (1) neurovascular compromise due to posterior displacement and impingement of the bone fragments on the brachial plexus, subclavian vessels, and even the common carotid artery; (2) fracture of the distal third of the clavicle with disruption of the coracoclavicular ligament; (3) severe angulation or comminution of a fracture in the middle third of the clavicle; (4) the patient's inability to tolerate prolonged immobilization (required by closed treatment) because of Parkinson's disease, a seizure disorder, or other neuromuscular disease; and (5) symptomatic non-union following treatment by closed methods.

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