Superior versus anteroinferior plating of clavicle fractures

Orthopedics. 2013 Jul;36(7):e898-904. doi: 10.3928/01477447-20130624-20.


Plate fixation of displaced clavicle fractures has proven to be reliable and reproducible, leading to high union rates and a low rate of associated complications. However, the decision of whether to place the plate superiorly or anteroinferiorly on the clavicle has remained controversial. The authors performed a retrospective review on a consecutive series of patients who underwent plate fixation for a displaced midshaft clavicle fracture at a Level I urban trauma center. A review of surgical records identified 138 patients with a displaced midshaft clavicle fracture requiring operative stabilization. A total of 105 patients who met the inclusion criteria were included in the analysis. Both superior and anteroinferior techniques resulted in a similar time to radiographic union (12.6±4.8 vs 11.3±5.2 weeks, respectively) and identical union rates (95%). At final follow-up, patient-reported implant prominence was nearly double in patients with a retained superior plate (54% vs 29%, respectively; P=.04). No significant difference existed in mean visual analog scale score at a mean of 2.77 years postoperatively, although a significant difference existed in the Oxford Shoulder Score questionnaire, with a mean score of 41.4 in the superior group and 44.4 in the anteroinferior group (P=.008). Implant removal occurred more frequently after superior plating but was not significant. Both superior and anteroinferior clavicle plating are safe treatment methods for displaced clavicle fractures. Superior plating leads to an increased rate of patient-reported implant prominence and may prompt more requests for implant removal.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bone Plates / statistics & numerical data*
  • Bone Screws / statistics & numerical data*
  • Clavicle / injuries*
  • Device Removal / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Fracture Fixation, Internal / instrumentation
  • Fracture Fixation, Internal / statistics & numerical data*
  • Fractures, Bone / epidemiology*
  • Fractures, Bone / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Ohio / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Reoperation / statistics & numerical data
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome