Medicine
Fact-checked

At TheHealthBoard, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

What Is Clavicle Plating?

Clavicle plating is a surgical procedure to repair a broken collarbone using metal plates and screws, ensuring proper alignment and healing. This method stabilizes the bone, allowing for faster recovery and reduced pain. Intrigued by how this technique restores function and strength to one of your body's key structures? Discover the step-by-step process and benefits in our comprehensive guide.
Jo Dunaway
Jo Dunaway

Broken clavicles are broken collarbones, the diagonal bones in the upper chest and beneath the neck that extend to the shoulder on each side. Used as a strut to support shoulders and connected to the breastplate, the clavicle holds shoulders in alignment to chest areas. Standard methods for diagnosing a broken clavicle are X-rays, in adults. For children, emergency rooms often use ultrasound imaging as the diagnostic tool. When a person falls with outstretched hand or onto the very point of their shoulder, broken clavicles are common and the repair often consists of clavicle plating.

Clavicles are the most common broken bones to appear with collarbone pain in emergency rooms. Broken clavicles are so common that newborns can be born with them during difficult deliveries. Bone fragments may override causing considerable neck pain and collarbone pain.

Clavicle plating might be used to repair a broken collarbone.
Clavicle plating might be used to repair a broken collarbone.

Some types of clavicle plates are affixed in the front of the break and others are attached beneath or behind the break to support the shoulders and correct shoulder droop while the clavicle is healing. It has been found that placing the clavicle plating behind or beneath the break can lead to less stiffness and rigidity when bending. This method also generally lowers the risk of nerve damage and physically is less prominent in appearance. Many of the plating types are noncontoured or precontoured for particular areas of break and some use locking screws to attach, whereas others have nonlocking screws. Clavicle plating is generally preferred over pins alone, as the residual disability level for pins that fail is often too high.

The clavicle connects the shoulder to the sternum.
The clavicle connects the shoulder to the sternum.

In surgeries, attachment of clavicle plating can be difficult as the bone is actually S-shaped and has a precise bowing configuration from where it is attached at breastplate and shoulder. Maintenance of this bow requires use of a digitizer and modeling software use as well as axial X-rays from every angle. Studies demonstrate that precontoured clavicle plates achieve a better fit in men than in women, though the bow is nearly identical in both sexes. These studies also find that the use of clavicle plating achieves better function after recuperation than any other treatment method.

One standard method for diagnosing a broken clavicle is an X-ray.
One standard method for diagnosing a broken clavicle is an X-ray.

Outcomes may depend upon the degree of break, and surgery is the only option in those fractures where the bone has come through the skin. These typically take longer to heal as there is both bone and wound to rehabilitate. In those clavicles that have been treated by other methods and the bones refused to knit together, surgery and placement of clavicle plating may be the only remedy for the pain and loss of function.

You might also Like

Discuss this Article

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register:
    • Clavicle plating might be used to repair a broken collarbone.
      By: Julián Rovagnati
      Clavicle plating might be used to repair a broken collarbone.
    • The clavicle connects the shoulder to the sternum.
      By: joshya
      The clavicle connects the shoulder to the sternum.
    • One standard method for diagnosing a broken clavicle is an X-ray.
      By: James Steidl
      One standard method for diagnosing a broken clavicle is an X-ray.
    • Broken clavicles are routinely treated through plating in most emergency departments.
      By: blondsteve
      Broken clavicles are routinely treated through plating in most emergency departments.
    • A broken clavicle can cause considerable neck and collarbone pain.
      By: JcJg Photography
      A broken clavicle can cause considerable neck and collarbone pain.
    • The clavicle -- also known as the collar bone -- connects the shoulder to the upper torso.
      By: Artem Furman
      The clavicle -- also known as the collar bone -- connects the shoulder to the upper torso.
    • Newborns may be born with broken clavicles from a difficult delivery.
      By: Tyler Olson
      Newborns may be born with broken clavicles from a difficult delivery.