Clavicle Fracture Overview
Collarbone (clavicle) injuries are common among athletes, especially those who are at risk for direct contact or falls (i.e. football players, gymnasts, cyclists, etc.). While these are common injuries, not all clavicle fracture are the same: the bone can break in multiple different patterns, some of which are more complex than others. Certain fractures will simply be a crack through the bone with both ends lined up, while others will break into multiple fragments of bone which is referred to as “comminution”. The term displacement refers to how far apart the ends of the bone are after an injury, and this makes a difference in healing. In severe cases, one end of the bone can poke through the skin causing noticeable bleeding and contamination of the bone and soft tissues. These fractures are referred to as “open” fractures. Shoulder surgeon, Dr. Robert Boykin specializes in the treatment of a clavicle fracture for patients in Asheville, Arden, Fletcher and surrounding North Carolina communities.
Many clavicle fractures can heal over time with the use of a sling and avoidance of activities for 6 to 10 weeks, especially those with minimal displacement and comminution. In more serious fractures or in cases where a comminuted, displaced, or shortened fracture exists, the bones will not line up as they should and thus surgery is typically recommended. Surgery will not speed up the healing process the clavicle, but rather aligns the bones so that they will heal in the proper position.