Fracture of the clavicle: the treatments

In most cases of a fracture of the clavicle, this option is chosen: the shoulder is immobilized - arm sling or wearing clamping rings.

The consolidation varies according to the age of the patients: approximately three weeks in the child; four to six weeks in adults. In case of fracture in several fragments, consolidation will be longer and may lead to the formation of a more or less visible bump under the skin (malunion).

Surgery is recommended when the clavicle is fractured at the extremities or when it is accompanied by lesions nearby (nerves, vessels, tendons). The bone is consolidated by the installation of a screwed plate. The advantage is that one quickly finds a good mobility of the shoulder. The disadvantage: even well done, the surgical operation leaves a scar.

This intervention also sometimes requires later a second intervention to remove the plate. Even if it remains an act of second intention (except fractures very displaced), the surgery can be proposed in the people whose activity requires it: sportsmen or people who need to find quickly their mobility.

There may be sequelae following the fracture of the clavicle and its treatments. In case of nonsurgical treatment, the most frequent sequelae are vicious callus, that is to say a consolidation of the bone in a bad position. They are not very annoying, but are also sometimes unsightly, forming a bump under the skin.

The surgical operation, meanwhile, can promote the occurrence of nonunion: it is a lack of bone consolidation that may require a new intervention (less than 5% of fractures operated).

After these treatments, re-education may be necessary. It is not essential after a fracture of the clavicle since the shoulder retains part of its mobility.

But this mobility can be hindered, upset and require massages, and stretching to find a good range of motion.

In the same way, after a surgical operation, you have to think about massaging the scar every day, in order to avoid adhesions that cause pain, tingling and mobility discomfort.

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