Return to athletic activity after plate fixation of displaced midshaft clavicle fractures

Academic Article


  • Background: Recent data support primary plate fixation of displaced midshaft clavicle fractures. The safety and efficacy of this practice have not been well documented in athletes. Hypothesis: Plate fixation of clavicle fractures in athletes is a safe and effective procedure, resulting in a reliable and timely return to play. Study Design: Case series; Level of evidence, 4. Methods: A total of 29 patients with displaced midshaft clavicle fractures from athletic activity were treated with plate fixation between January 1, 2003 and December 31, 2008, including 1 patient treated for each clavicle for separate injuries. All 29 patients were contacted for follow-up. At a mean follow-up of 21 months, patients completed a questionnaire focused on the time to return to athletics and treatment course. Patients also completed the Quick Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (QuickDASH) questionnaire. Radiographs were reviewed to identify fracture comminution, displacement, shortening, and angulation; radiographic union time; and malunion. Results: All of the patients (30/30 cases) returned to sports after open reduction internal fixation of their fracture. The mean time to return to play was 83 days with a range of 13 to 277 days. Seven (23%) of the cases returned to athletics at ≤6 weeks after surgery, and a total of 20 patients (67%) returned at ≤12 weeks after surgery. All patients (100%) were satisfied with their treatment. The QuickDASH scores revealed almost perfect recovery (mean score, 0.8 of 100). Four minor complications were identified. No patient had a refracture, plate fracture, loss of fixation, nonunion, malunion, or deep wound infection. Conclusion: Plate fixation of displaced clavicle fractures in athletes is a safe procedure, resulting in a high satisfaction rating and minimal disability to the upper extremity. An early return (<6 weeks) to sports is possible after this treatment; however, the time to return is highly variable. © 2013 The Author(s).
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Meisterling SW; Cain EL; Fleisig GS; Hartzell JL; Dugas JR
  • Start Page

  • 2632
  • End Page

  • 2636
  • Volume

  • 41
  • Issue

  • 11