Fractures of the Clavicle: An Overview

Thomas D Donnelly*, Robert J MacFarlane, Mathias Thomas Nagy, Peter Ralte, Mohammad Waseem
Department of Trauma and Orthopaedics, Macclesfield District General Hospital, Victoria Road, Macclesfield, SK10 3BL, UK

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© Donnelly et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestrictive use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Trauma and Orthopaedics, Macclesfield District General Hospital, Victoria Road, Macclesfield, SK10 3BL, UK; Tel: 01625 661099; Fax: 01625 661436; E-mail:


Fractures of the clavicle are a common injury and most often occur in younger individuals. For the most part, they have been historically treated conservatively with acceptable results. However, over recent years, more and more research is showing that operative treatment may decrease the rates of fracture complications and increase functional outcomes. This article first describes the classification of clavicle fractures and then reviews the literature over the past decades to form a conclusion regarding the appropriate management.

A thorough literature review was performed on assessment of fractures of the clavicle, their classification and the outcomes following conservative treatment. Further literature was gathered regarding the surgical treatment of these fractures, including the methods of fixation and the surgical approaches used. Both conservative and surgical treatments were then compared and contrasted.

The majority of recent data suggests that operative treatment may be more appropriate as it improves functional outcome and reduces the risk of complications such as non-union. This is particularly evident in mid shaft fractures, although more high grade evidence is needed to fully recommend this, especially regarding certain fractures of the medial and lateral clavicle.

Keywords: Clavicle fracture, internal fixation, locking plate, Rockwood pin.