Indexed on: 28 Jul '18Published on: 28 Jul '18Published in: Orthopedics
This study evaluated patients with displaced clavicle fractures treated surgically vs nonoperatively. The authors hypothesized that functional outcomes would be no different. A retrospective comparative study was performed of 138 patients with closed midshaft clavicle fractures. Sixty-nine patients were treated operatively and matched for sex, age, and fracture pattern to 69 patients treated nonoperatively. Charts and radiographs were reviewed, and the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons survey was administered. A poor outcome was defined as a treatment complication or an American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons score less than 60. There were 116 men and 22 women with a mean age of 37.7 years and fracture patterns of 15B-1 (n=78), 15B-2 (n=48), and 15B-3 (n=12). Thirty-seven percent were tobacco smokers, with 23 treated operatively and 28 nonoperatively. Ten (14.5%) initially nonoperative patients underwent plate fixation at a mean of 25.9 weeks (range, 7-48 weeks) because of persistent pain and motion at the fracture site. Fifteen (21.7%) of the 69 patients treated acutely with surgery had 16 complications, which resulted in secondary procedures in 11 patients (15.9%). Overall, poor outcomes occurred in 21 (30.4%) of 69 after fixation and in 19 (27.5%) of 69 in the nonoperative group. Unemployment (P=.05) and tobacco use (P=.03) were associated with poor outcome, irrespective of type of treatment. Initial nonoperative treatment presents a reasonable option for many patients. No differences in complications or poor outcomes were noted for surgical vs nonoperative treatment. Social factors proved to be greater predictors of outcome than other patient or injury features. Management of clavicle fractures should be individualized with assessment of patient expectations and activity level. Social factors should also be considered. [Orthopedics. 201x; xx(x):xx-xx.]. Copyright 2018, SLACK Incorporated.