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Complications associated with operative fixation of acute midshaft clavicle fractures

journal contribution
posted on 2016-06-01, 00:00 authored by S Asadollahi, R C Hau, Richard PageRichard Page, M Richardson, E R Edwards
The aim of this study was to review the complication rate and profile associated with surgical fixation of acute midshaft clavicle fracture in a large cohort of patients treated in a level I trauma centre.
Patients and methods: We identified all patients who underwent surgical treatment of acute midshaft clavicle fracture between 2002 and 2010. The study group consisted of 138 fractures (134 patients). There were 107 males (78%) and 31 females (22%) and median age of 35 years (IQR 24-45). The most common mechanism of injury was a road traffic accident (78%). Sixty percent (n = 83) had an injury severity score of ≥ 15 indicating major trauma. The most common fracture type (75%) was simple or wedge comminuted (2B1) according to the Edinburgh classification. The median interval between the injury and operation was 3 days (IQR 1-6). Plate fixation was performed in 110 fractures (80%) and intramedullary fixation was performed in 28 fractures (20%). There were 85 males and 25 females in the plate fixation group with median age of 35 years (IQR: 25-45) There were 22 males and 6 females in intramedullary fixation group with median age of 31 years (IQR 24-42 years). Statistical analysis was performed using Independent sample t-test, Mann-Whitney test, and Chi-square test. Significant P-value was < 0.05.
Results: The overall incidence of complication was 14.5% (n = 20). The overall nonunion rate 6%. Post operative wound infection occurred in 3.6% of cases. The incidence of complication associated with plate fixation was 10% (11 of 110 cases) compared to 32% associated with intramedullary fixation (9 of 28 cases) (P = 0.003). Thirty five percent of complications were related to inadequate surgical technique and potentially avoidable. Symptomatic hardware requiring removal occurred in 23% (n = 31) of patients. Symptomatic metalware was more frequent after plate fixation compared to intramedullary fixation (26% vs 7%, P = 0.03).
Conclusions: Intramedullary fixation of midshaft clavicle fracture is associated with higher incidence of complications. Plate fixation is associated with a higher rate of symptomatic metalware requiring removal compared to intramedullary fixation. Approximately one in three complications may be avoided by attention to adequate surgical technique.









1248 - 1252




Amsterdam, The Netherlands







Publication classification

C Journal article; C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2016, Elsevier