Congenital pseudarthrosis of the clavicle: surgical decision making and outcomes

J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2020 Feb;29(2):302-307. doi: 10.1016/j.jse.2019.06.002. Epub 2019 Aug 16.


Background: Congenital pseudarthrosis of the clavicle (CPC) is a rare entity in which the primary ossification center of the clavicle fails to coalesce. The natural history of CPC is unknown, and there is controversy regarding surgical vs. conservative treatment.

Methods: A retrospective review of 47 pediatric patients treated for CPC was performed. The Quick Disabilities of the Arm and Shoulder (QuickDASH) survey and the Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) upper extremity domain were used to assess overall patient satisfaction, function, and quality of life after treatment.

Results: Twenty-four of 47 (51%) patients underwent surgical treatment. Of these, 9 patients (38%, 9/24) underwent surgery at <18 months of age using suture fixation alone, whereas the older 15 surgical patients (15/24, 62%) were treated with plate fixation. The younger surgical cohort had a nonunion rate of 43% (3/7) compared with 13% (2/15) in the older cohort. All surgical patients had resolution of preoperative symptoms. Eleven (11/24, 46%) surgical subjects responded to the follow-up survey. Upper extremity function normalized according to the QuickDASH survey (score of 0 for all subjects). The median PROMIS upper extremity domain score was 55, which was also in the normal range.

Conclusions: This series of CPC patients improves our understanding of treatment options and outcomes of surgical treatment. All surgical patients had resolution of preoperative symptoms. Patients treated surgically with stable fixation at an older age had higher rates of union than those treated in infancy with suture fixation. Patient-reported outcomes were favorable overall.

Keywords: Clavicle pseudarthrosis; PROMIS; QuickDASH; congenital pseudarthrosis; pseudarthrosis treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Bone Plates
  • Bone Transplantation
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Clavicle / abnormalities
  • Clavicle / surgery*
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Patient Reported Outcome Measures
  • Pseudarthrosis / congenital*
  • Pseudarthrosis / surgery
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sutures

Supplementary concepts

  • Congenital pseudoarthrosis