Management of Distal Clavicle Fractures

J Am Acad Orthop Surg, Vol 19, No 7, July 2011

Rahul Banerjee, MD, Brian Waterman, MD, Jeff Padalecki, MD and William Robertson, MD Most clavicle fractures heal without difficulty. However, radiographic nonunion after distal clavicle fracture has been reported in 10% to 44% of patients. Type II distal clavicle fractures, which involve displacement, are associated with the highest incidence of nonunion. Several studies have questioned the clinical relevance of distal clavicle nonunion, however. Nonsurgical and surgical management provide similar results. The decision whether to operate may be influenced by the amount of fracture displacement and the individual demands of the patient. Surgical options to achieve bony union include transacromial wire fixation, a modified Weaver-Dunn procedure, use of a tension band, screw fixation, plating, and arthroscopy. Each technique has advantages and disadvantages; insufficient evidence exists to demonstrate that any one technique consistently provides the best results.

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