Mid-clavicle Fractures in Adults: End Result Study After Conservative Treatment


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Abstract

Objective:The aim of the present study was to analyze the long-term outcome of mid-clavicle fractures in adults and to evaluate the clinical importance of displacement and fracture comminution.Design:Two hundred twenty-five mid-clavicular fractures that had been nonsurgically treated at Malmö University Hospital were retrospectively evaluated, both clinically and radiographically, an average of seventeen years after injury. There were seventy-one undisplaced fractures, sixty-nine displaced two-fragment fractures, and eighty-five displaced and comminuted fractures. The average patient age at the time of trauma was thirty-three years (range 15 to 70 years). Patients were interviewed, and careful clinical and radiological examination of their shoulders was performed. Two patients had experienced transient neuritis, and another two underwent operative treatment because of progressive neuropathy.Setting:All 225 consecutive patients were treated primarily at the Malmö University Hospital, which serves the Malmö city population (250,000).Patients/Participants:Since the beginning of this century, all radiographs taken at the Malmö University Hospital have been classified and filed for easy retrieval. In this retrospective study, all patients treated between 1970 and 1979 were identified, and those still living were called for follow-up examination.Intervention:Of the 225 fractures reviewed, 197 fractures were originally treated with a figure-of-eight splint for an average period of three weeks without any attempt to reduce the displaced fractures; twenty-four patients were allowed immediate free shoulder mobilization.Main Outcome Measurements:Clinical rating and healing were the main outcome measurements.Results:At follow-up, 185 shoulders were asymptomatic. Thirty-nine shoulders had moderate pain and were rated as fair, and one patient was rated as poor. One hundred twenty-five of the fractures had healed normally, fifty-three were malunited with persistent fracture displacement, and seven were nonunions; nonunion was significantly more prevalent in cases with displaced fractures. Forty malunited fractures and three nonunions were rated as good.Conclusions:This review demonstrates that few patients with fractures of the mid-part of the clavicle require operative treatment.

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