Clavicle Fracture

Patient Stories

    Sports have always been a big part of my life. Two years ago, at age fourteen, my shoulder was severely injured in a collision playing lacrosse. After an immediate surgery […]

    Brian
    Lacrosse - AC Separation Reconstruction

    My son, Austin James, injured his right shoulder in a snowboarding accident on February 12, 2010. He was seen and evaluated at Robert Wood Johnson emergency room. We were told […]

    Austin
    Football - Removal of Clavicle Fracture Fragment
    Christoper Smith
    Cycling - Open Reduction Internal Fixation (ORIF) of Fractured Clavicle

Overview

Clavicle Fracture (Broken Collarbone)

A clavicle fracture, or the more familiar “broken collarbone”, is a common injury that with appropriate treatment usually heals completely, allowing you to resume normal activity.

Your clavicle is: A bone that lies horizontally and connects the shoulder and arm to the sternum (breastbone).

The Facts on Clavicle Fractures:

  • A clavicle fracture is a break in the collarbone
  • Clavicle fractures are a common injury in athletes, especially cyclists
  • Most clavicle fractures occur during a fall
  • A clavicle fracture can be painful and cause a large bump to swell at the point of injury
  • Some clavicle fractures are best treated with surgery

Symptoms

The following symptoms are caused by a clavicle fracture:

  • Inability to lift your arm because of pain
  • A cracking sensation when you try to raise the arm
  • The appearance of a "bump" over the break
  • Bruising and swelling over the collarbone

Evaluation by Team Ahmad

Dr. Ahmad and his team of health professionals will greet you and start your visit with a discussion of your symptoms, sport, level of competition, or desired activity level, and how the injury occurred. Next, the doctor will exam your clavicle injury, focusing on:

  • The function of your nerves and circulation
  • Tender areas over the clavicle
  • X-ray results to determine the features of the fracture

Treatment Options

If you are experiencing intense pain at the location of your clavicle, you may have a clavicle fracture—do not continue to keep using your arm or shoulder. Instead seek medical attention to determine the severity of your injury.

Non-Surgical

Dr. Ahmad will recommend non-surgical treatment if your bones are still in proper position, and have not shifted to the point where readjustment is necessary. Nonsurgical treatment may include:

  • Arm Sling: A simple arm sling is usually used to keep your arm and shoulder in position while the injury heals.
  • Medication: Pain medication, including acetaminophen, can help relieve pain as the fracture heals.
  • Follow-up care: Ahmad and his team will see you regularly until your fracture heals, taking x-rays at every visit to ensure your bone is healing.

Surgical

Dr. Ahmad and his team will recommend surgery if the broken ends of the bones have significantly shifted out of place, especially in high demand athletic patients. Surgery involves re-positioning the broken bone pieces and preventing them from moving.

Using the following procedure, Dr Ahmad restores strength and function to your shoulder and accelerates the ability to get back to activities and sport:

Open reduction and internal fixation: A procedure that involves re-positioning bone fragments into their normal alignment after an injury.

  • After realignment, the bone fragments are held in place with special screws and metal plates attached to the outer surface of the bone.
  • Plates and screws are not routinely removed after the bone has healed, unless they are causing discomfort.

 

Dr. Ahmad's Experience

Dr. Ahmad is nationally recognized expert in shoulder trauma and has exceptional expertise in treating clavicle fractures in athletes. Dr. Ahmad has performed research investigating optimal methods to repair clavicle fractures. His research combined with his undergraduate training in mechanical engineering has enabled him to offer the best state of the art surgical techniques to his patients.  Dr. Ahmad has treated several hundred patients with clavicle fractures in all types of athletes including professional baseball pitchers to high school football players.

PUBLICATIONS and PRESENTATIONS
  1. VanBeek C, Boselli K, Cadet E, Ahmad CS, Levine WN: Precontoured plating of clavicle fractures: Decreased Hardware-related complication? Clinical Orthopedics and Related Research, 469 (12) 3337-3343, 2011
  2. Levine WN, Soong M, Ahmad CS, Blaine TA, Bigliani LU: Arthroscopic Distal Clavicle Resection: A Comparison of Direct and Bursal Approaches. Arthroscopy, 22:516-20, 2006
  3. Shubin Stein BE, Ahmad CS, Bigliani LU, Levine WN: A Comparison of MRI Findings of the Acromioclavicular Joint in Symptomatic Versus Asymptomatic Patients. Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery, 15:56-9, 2006
  4. Stewart AM, Ahmad CS: Failure of Acromioclavicular Reconstruction Using Gore-Tex Graft Due to Aseptic Foreign Body Reaction and Clavicle Osteolysis. Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery, 15:558-561, 2004
  5. Levine WN, Ahmad CS, Jupiter J, McKee: Treatment Options for Clavicle Fractures: When is ORIF and IM Fixation Indicated? Top Shoulder Surgeons Give Treatment Opinions from Clinical Diagnosis to Rehabilitation. Orthopaedics Today, 27:62, 2007
  6. Ahmad CS: Indications Changing for Open Reduction Internal Fixation of Clavicle Fractures. Orthopedics Today, p. 16, 2008
  7. Ahmad CS: Indications Changing for Open Reduction Internal Fixation of Clavicle Fractures. Orthopedics Today Europe, p. 17, 2008.
  8. Tanaka, M, Chiaia T, Ahmad CS: “Postoperative Rehabilitation After Repair of Clavicle Fracture”, Orthopaedic Rehabilitation of the Athlete: Getting Back in the Game, Elsevier Saunders, Philadelphia, 2015
  9. Chiaia T, Tanaka M, Ahmad CS: “Nonoperative Rehabilitation of Clavicle Fractures”, Orthopaedic Rehabilitation of the Athlete: Getting Back in the Game, Elsevier Saunders, Philadelphia, 2015
  10. Ahmad CS, Theresa Chia: Acromioclavicular (AC) Joint Injuries and Sternoclavicular (SC) Joint Injuries. Getting Back in the Game: Orthopaedic Rehabilitation of the Athlete. Editors, Bruce Reider, George Davies, and Matthew T. Provencher, In Print, 2014
  11. Cadet E, Ahmad CS, Levine WN: The Management of Acromioclavicular Joint Osteoathrosis: Debride, Resect or Leave It Alone, Instructional Course Lectures Volume 55: Light, Editor: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Chicago, 2006
  12. Shubin Stein BE, Ahmad CS, Pfaff CH, Bigliani LU, Levine WN: A Comparison of MRI Findings of the Acromioclavicular Joint in Symptomatic Verses Asymptomatic Patients. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting, Dallas TX, February 2002
  13. Shubin Stein BE, Ahmad CS, Pfaff CH, Bigliani LU, Levine WN: A Comparison of MRI Findings of the Acromioclavicular Joint in Symptomatic Verses Asymptomatic Patients. American Society for Sports Medicine Annual Meeting, Orlando FL, July 2002
  14. Shubin Stein BE, Ahmad CS, Charles H. Pfaff, Bigliani LU, Levine WN: A Comparison of MRI Findings of the Acromioclavicular Joint in Symptomatic Verses Asymptomatic Patients. International Society of Arthroscopy, Knee Surgery and Orthopaedic Sports Medicine, Montreux Switzerland, May 2001
  15. Orthopaedics Today Symposium, Faculty, Shoulder Update 2009, Clavicle Fractures. Kohala Coast Hawaii, January 2009
  16. Orthopedics Today Symposium, Faculty, Clinical Case Challenge – Part 1, AC Joint Injuries and Clavicle Fractures: When Do I Operate? Maui Hawaii, January 2008
  17. Orthopedics Today Symposium, Faculty, Clavicle Fractures. Maui Hawaii, January 2008
  18. Acumed New York Upper Extremity Course, Faculty, Surgical Management of Midshaft Clavicle Fractures, September 17, 2010
  19. Minimally Invasive Shoulder and Elbow Surgery Update CME, Faculty, When Do I Fix Clavicle Fractures? New York NY, May 2007
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