Management of Clavicle Fractures


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Abstract

Fractures of the clavicle are relatively common injuries that can occur in patients of all ages. The history and physical examination remain the primary means of diagnosing this injury. Plain radiographs are helpful to confirm the diagnosis and to provide information regarding fracture classification, prognosis, and treatment options. The emphasis of this article is on the management of these injuries. Historically, only unstable distal clavicle fractures were treated operatively. However, recent well-conducted studies demonstrate that plate fixation of displaced midshaft clavicle fractures may result in improved functional outcome and a lower rate of malunion and non-union, compared with non-operative treatment. For clavicle fractures managed non-operatively, the sling-and-swathe or figure-of-eight splints remain appropriate options. Multiple factors should be considered when counseling an athlete on the appropriate time to return to sports participation after a clavicle fracture.

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