Outcomes of operative versus nonoperative treatment of displaced pediatric clavicle fractures.

Research paper by Lindsey S LS Hagstrom, Michael M Ferrick, Robert R Galpin

Indexed on: 11 Feb '15Published on: 11 Feb '15Published in: Orthopedics


Current literature proposes relative and absolute indications for surgical treatment of clavicle fractures in adults. However, few studies have evaluated these fractures in children. The current study examined short- and long-term outcomes of pediatric patients with displaced clavicle fractures. Outcomes assessed included radiographic healing, full active range of motion, and return to activity. The authors' hypothesis was that open reduction and internal fixation of displaced clavicle fractures would lead to better outcomes than nonoperative treatment. The authors retrospectively reviewed the charts of pediatric patients treated for clavicle fractures between January 2001 and October 2011. The nonoperative group included 32 patients, and the operative group included 46 patients. Mean time to return to activity was 12.24 weeks in the nonoperative group and 12.70 weeks in the operative group (P=.67). Mean time to full active range of motion was 7.85 weeks in the nonoperative group and 8.74 weeks in the operative group (P=.24). Mean time to radiographic evidence of healing was 12.02 weeks in the nonoperative group and 11.90 weeks in the operative group (P=.90). Average Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH) score was 0.04 in the nonoperative group (range, 0-0.08) and 1.17 in the operative group (range, 0-8.3), with no significant difference between groups. No significant difference between operative treatment and nonoperative treatment was found in any of the authors' outcome measures. Thus, the authors propose that unless the patient's injury is an absolute indication for surgery, conservative management provides equivalent immediate and long-term clinical results.