Fair Oaks Orthopedics

Shoulder Fracture Treatment And Recovery - Fairfax VA

A clavicle fracture, also known as a broken collarbone, is a common type of fracture involving the clavicle bone, which is located between the shoulder blade (scapula) and the breastbone (sternum). The clavicle plays an essential role in supporting the shoulder and allowing for a wide range of arm movements. A broken collarbone causes difficulty when you lift your arm because of the pain, swelling, and bruising over the traumatized area.

A broken collarbone usually heals without surgery, but if the bone ends are displaced, surgery is recommended. The surgery aligns the bone ends and holds them stable during healing, improving shoulder strength.

Clavicle fractures typically occur as a result of direct trauma to the shoulder area, such as a fall onto the shoulder or an impact during sports or motor vehicle accidents. They can also occur due to indirect trauma, such as a fall onto an outstretched hand, where the force is transmitted up through the arm to the clavicle.

It’s important for patients with Clavicle Fracture Injuries to work closely with our Orthopedic team to ensure they follow a comprehensive treatment plan that meets their specific medical needs and goals.

Fairfax orthopedic surgeon Dr. Stephen W. Pournaras offers expert treatment for clavicle fracture injuries, (broken collarbone), contact us today.

Symptoms of a clavicle fracture :

Pain in the shoulder area, particularly over the clavicle bone.

Swelling and tenderness at the site of the fracture.

Bruising or discoloration over the collarbone.

Difficulty moving the arm or shoulder, especially with overhead movements.

A visible deformity or bump over the clavicle indicates a displaced fracture.

The diagnosis of a clavicle fracture (broken collar bone) is based on a physical examination and imaging studies, such as X-rays.

X-rays can confirm the presence of a fracture and provide information about the location, displacement, and severity of the injury.

Treatment of a clavicle fracture depends on the location and severity of the fracture, the age and activity level of the patient, and the presence of any associated injuries.

In many cases, clavicle fractures can be managed non-surgical with methods such as:

Immobilization: A sling or brace may be used to immobilize the arm and support the shoulder while the fracture heals. This helps to relieve pain and prevent further injury.

Pain Management: Over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers can help to manage the pain and discomfort associated with the fracture.

Physical Therapy: Once the acute pain and swelling subside, physical therapy exercises may be prescribed to restore range of motion, strength, and function to the shoulder and arm.

Surgery: In some cases, particularly for displaced or unstable fractures, surgery may be recommended to realign the fractured bones and stabilize the clavicle with plates, screws, or wires.

The majority of clavicle fractures heal well with non-surgical options treatment, and most patients can expect a full recovery and return to normal activities within a few months.

A broken clavicle bone usually heals without surgery, but if the bone ends have shifted out of place, particularly for fractures that are displaced, significantly shortened, or associated with severe pain, skin tenting, neurovascular compromise, or multiple trauma, surgery is usually the best option. Surgery can realign the bone ends, hold them stable during healing, and restore function to the shoulder and arm improving shoulder strength.

Overview of the surgical procedure for fixation of clavicle fractures:

Preoperative Evaluation: Before surgery, the patient undergoes a thorough evaluation, including physical examination, imaging studies (such as X-rays or CT scans), and assessment of overall health and medical history.

Anesthesia: Surgery for clavicle fracture fixation is typically performed under general anesthesia or regional anesthesia, depending on the patient’s preference.

Surgical Approach: An incision is made over the fractured clavicle, typically on the upper surface of the bone, where it is less visible. The specific location and size of the incision may vary depending on the fracture pattern and surgical technique.

Fracture Reduction: The fractured ends of the clavicle are carefully realigned and anatomically reduced to restore normal alignment and length. This may involve manipulating the bones into the correct position and removing any bone fragments or soft tissue interposition.

Stabilization: Once the fracture is aligned correctly, Dr. Pournaras will stabilize the clavicle using various fixation devices, such as plates, screws, pins, wires, or intramedullary devices. These implants are placed to hold the fractured bones in position and provide stability during the healing process.

Closure: After the fracture is stabilized, the incision is closed with sutures or staples, and a sterile dressing is applied to the surgical site.

Overall, surgical fixation of clavicle fractures can be highly effective in restoring stability and function to the shoulder and arm, particularly for complex or displaced fractures.

Postoperative Care: Following surgery, the patient is monitored closely in the recovery area before being discharged home or to a hospital room. Pain management medications are provided as needed, and instructions are given for wound care, activity restrictions, and rehabilitation exercises.

Rehabilitation: Physical therapy and rehabilitation are essential components of recovery after clavicle fracture fixation surgery. The patient may begin gentle range of motion exercises and gradually progress to strengthening exercises to restore shoulder function and mobility.

Follow-up: Regular follow-up appointments with our medical team are scheduled to monitor healing, evaluate progress, and make any necessary adjustments to the treatment plan.


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Fair Oaks Orthopedics

For over 30 years, Virginia Board Certified Physician, Dr. Stephen W. Pournaras, Jr. has provided excellent healthcare and treatment for his patients. As a multi-specialty orthopedic practice, offering the best for you medically to treat, heal and lead you to optimum recovery. We are dedicated to using state-of-the-art technology while building nurturing relationships with each of our patients.

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