Clavicle Fractures

Overview: a broken or fractured bone in the clavicle, or collarbone. It is often caused by a fall onto an outstretched upper extremity, a fall onto a shoulder, or a direct blow to the clavicle.


Signs and Symptoms:

  • Immediate Pain, and swelling.
  • A “pop” or “snap” is heard.
  • A deformity at the site of the injury.
  • Pain when using the affected arm.



Treatment options are operative vs. Non-Operative.  If the fracture pieces are not separated or shortened and there is minimal tenting of the skin or deformity, non-operative management may be the best course, and would likely involve:

  • Sling for comfort
  • Early gentle range of motion to the shoulder to avoid stiffness
  • Lifting restriction for 6-8 weeks.
  • Follow up in clinic to repeat X-rays and monitor healing.
  • Physical Therapy for shoulder strengthening after bone healing is evident.

If the fracture pieces are significantly separated or there is a significant amount of deformity or skin tenting, or any breaks in the skin caused from the fracture then surgery may be indicated.  Surgical fixation is typically achieved with various plate and screw configurations.


Pre-Op Care:

  • Pre-operative history and physical
  • Pre-Operative screening labs
  • Preoperative  X-rays


Post-Op Care:

  • Daily incisional care, keep incision clean and dry and replace the bandage daily, with a clean dressing.
  • Pain medication when needed. 
  • Sling for comfort
  • Post-op clinical visits for suture removal at 2-3 weeks after surgery.
  • Early shoulder motion with lifting restrictions for 6-12 weeks.