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Int J Shoulder Surg. 2012 Jul;6(3):76-81. doi: 10.4103/0973-6042.102556.

The outcome of surgical fixation of mid shaft clavicle fractures; looking at patient satisfaction and comparing surgical approaches.

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Department of Trauma and Orthopaedics Surgery, Good Hope Hospital, Heart of England NHS foundation Trust, Rectory Road, Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, B75 7RR, UK.



Clavicle fractures represent 2.5% of fractures in adults and almost 44% of shoulder injuries. The treatment is usually non-surgical with good results; however, significantly displaced fractures can be associated with high non-union rate and therefore many would advocate surgical fixation. This is traditionally carried out by direct approach over the clavicle but an infraclavicular approach has also been used for clavicular fixation. The aim of this study was to identify the main indications for surgical intervention at our unit and patient satisfaction following surgery. We also wanted to compare the direct and the infraclavicular surgical approaches in relation to the outcome of surgical intervention.


Retrospective study looking at all the clavicle fractures managed surgically over 5 years at our department. Information relating to surgical indication, surgical approach, complications, outcome, patient satisfaction, and oxford shoulder score were collected.


A total of 35 patients were identified, the majority were males (n = 25) and most (n = 29) were working at the time of injury. The commonest indication for surgery was displacement with shortening (n = 16). The infraclavicular approach was used in the majority of patients (n = 21), the rest (n = 14) had direct incision. Evidence of radiological and union was achieved in all patients after an average of 13 (8-24) weeks. There were no major complications but minor complications were reported in 28% and 19% of cases with direct and infraclavicular approaches, respectively. Plates were removed from six symptomatic patients; infraclavicular (n = 2) and direct approach (n = 4). Four asymptomatic plates were removed on patients' requests. All patients returned to work (after an average 2.6 months), had good oxford shoulder score between 12-20, regardless of the surgical approach used. All patients except one would recommend it to a friend.


Our study showed excellent surgical outcome for displaced clavicle fractures supported by the high union rate, good oxford shoulder score, high return to work rate, and good patient's satisfaction. The number of minor complications and symptomatic metal work removal was less in the infraclavicular approach.


Mid shaft clavicle fracture; outcome; patient satisfaction; surgical approaches

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