Intraoperative Identification of Clavicle Fracture Patterns: Do Clavicles Fail in a Predictable Pattern?

Nicholas J. Drayer, Chase A. Dukes, Michelle L. Dudevoir, Alyssa R. Greenhouse, Meghana V. Rao, Edward D. Arrington, Richard J. Friedman, Jason A. Grassbaugh, Josef K. Eichinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVES: To characterize the fracture pattern and pattern of fragmentation for displaced, midshaft clavicle fractures undergoing operative management. DESIGN: Prospective observational study. SETTING: Two institutions. Level 1 and Level 2 Trauma Centers. PATIENTS/PARTICIPANTS: Fifty-three patients who underwent operative repair of midshaft clavicle fracture. INTERVENTION: All clavicles were treated by operative open reduction internal fixation. MAIN OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS: All clavicles were categorized by the Robinson classification based on injury plain film bilateral upright clavicle radiographs. In addition, intraoperative fracture characteristics of fragment length and location were measured and recorded to evaluate the fracture pattern. All fractures were analyzed to determine the frequency of segmental comminution versus length-stable patterns, analyze characteristics of butterfly fragment size, number and location as well as the location of the cortical read for those length-stable fractures. RESULTS: Analysis revealed 55% were Robinson 2B2 based on preoperative radiographs. Length-stable, anatomic reduction was achievable in 83%. For those in which an anatomic cortical read was achievable, 97.7% had a read present in the posterior-superior aspect of the clavicle. CONCLUSIONS: Midshaft clavicle fractures that meet conventional criteria for operative repair occur in a predictable manner with butterfly fragments generated from anterior-inferior compression and simple fracture line generated from tension along the posterior-superior aspect of the clavicle. Understanding this pattern can assist in the in surgical planning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)675-678
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of orthopaedic trauma
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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