A distal clavicle fracture is a break (fracture) in the outer third of the clavicle (collar bone) near the end where it attaches to the acromion of the scapula (bony roof of the shoulder). Often, this fracture is associated with rupture of the coracoclavicular ligaments which allows the clavicle to displace and move significantly out of alignment.
Surgery consists of making a small open incision over the clavicle, repositioning the fracture fragments, and holding them in place with plates, screws, or sutures. Additionally, anchors with suture are may be used to reinforce the fracture and assist with healing of the commonly associated injury to the coracoclavicular ligaments. After fracture healing, these fixation devices may be removed if needed. During surgery, X-ray is used to ensure that all fragments are appropriately aligned. At the same time, the coracoclavicular ligaments are also repaired.
Patients may return to unlimited activities when there is no pain, the shoulder has full range of motion, muscle strength, and endurance, and the fracture is fully healed. This usually requires three to four months following a distal clavicle surgery. Dr. Chudik will clear patients to return when it is safe to resume activities.