Clavicle Fracture Surgeon

Are you an athlete who participates in contact sports? If so, you may be at risk of sustaining a clavicle fracture. The clavicle can be injured during sports activities, a fall, a very hard hit, or a motor vehicle accident. Clavicle fracture surgeon, Doctor Riley J. Williams provides diagnosis as well as surgical and nonsurgical treatment options for patients in Manhattan and New York City, NY who have sustained a broken collarbone or clavicle fracture. Contact Dr. Williams’ team today!

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What is a clavicle fracture?

The clavicle (collarbone) is a bone located between the sternum (breastbone) and scapula (shoulder blade). The clavicle connects the arm to the trunk of the body. A clavicle fracture, or break, can occur from a fall onto an outstretched arm, shoulder trauma, or from a hard tackle as is typical of some contact sports. This type of injury is common, accounting for approximately 5 percent of adult broken bones. Clavicle fractures can often be very painful, and result in significant disability for affected patients.  Dr. Riley J. Williams, Orthopedic shoulder surgeon, treats patients in Manhattan, New York City, and the surrounding New York boroughs who are experiencing pain associated with a fractured or broken clavicle.

How do I know if I have a clavicle fracture?

A clavicle fracture will most often be accompanied by pain in the affected clavicle . Clavicle fracture patients have difficulty moving their arm. Occasionally patients will report a “popping” sensation as the bone breaks. Other symptoms of a fractured clavicle include:

  • Shoulder sagging downward or forward
  • Bruising, swelling, tenderness of the affected clavicle
  • Visual deformity over the fracture site
  • A grinding sensation with raising the affected arm noted at the deformity site

When does a clavicle fracture need surgery?

Clavicle fractures can be treated without surgery. However, there are several occasions when surgical intervention is necessary. A clavicle fracture should be surgically repaired in the following instances:

  • Large degree of displacement between fracture fragments
  • Shortening of the clavicle from the fracture ends overlapping
  • Nerve compromise when patients complain of numbness and tingling
  • Any concern regarding cosmetic appearance of the collarbone

How is a clavicle fracture surgery performed?

Dr. Williams repairs a clavicle fracture using a procedure called open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF); this is an outpatient procedure.   A nerve block is applied, and a small incision is created over the fracture site. In an open reduction, the fracture fragments are manually repositioned into their correct anatomical position. Once they are properly aligned, they are internally fixed using special screws and plates to allow the bone fragments to appropriately fuse together. Additional screws and plates may be required depending on the complexity of the clavicle fracture.

What is the recovery period like after a clavicle fracture surgery?

Following surgical repair of a clavicle fracture, patients typically notice a moderate reduction in pain and an increase in collarbone stability. A sling will be applied to immobilize the clavicle for approximately 2 weeks following surgery to ensure proper bone fusion. Dr. Williams will recommend an appropriate physical rehabilitation program to begin 2 weeks after surgery. This program is key in regaining strength and movement of the repaired clavicle. Patients can expect to return to their daily routine, including sporting activities, around 2-3 months after surgery.

For more information on the clavicle fracture surgery, or to find a treatment for a clavicle fracture, please contact the office of Riley J. Williams, MD, an orthopedic shoulder surgeon serving Manhattan, New York City, and the surrounding New York boroughs.