Chief Complaint/Injury – Complex Clavicle Fracture

Healthy active female roller derby athlete with recurrent fracture through clavicle malunion of prior right midshaft clavicle fracture. The pain, deformity, and shortening of the clavicle in the setting of a recurrent clavicle fracture make surgery appropriate for this athlete. As this is a recurrent fracture with shortening and deformity, an iliac crest bone graft is selected to restore length of the clavicle, enhance the biology of fracture healing, and optimize her chances for the best possible outcome.


Xray of clavicle ORIF, anatomic restoration of clavicle length, surgery, bone healing, Rudzki

Surgery is performed with a combined regional and general anesthetic which makes the patient pain-free for approximately 12-16 hours after surgery. An iliac crest bone graft is used to optimize the biology at the fracture site and restore the length of the clavicle. Rigid, stable fixation is obtained and fluoroscopic (x-ray) imaging used to confirm restoration of the native anatomy with stable, appropriate implant position. Great care is taken with plate placement and wound closure to minimize any hardware prominence or need for implant removal in the future. The pelvic bone graft is performed with great care, preservation of native tissue planes, local anesthetic and a plastic surgery technique for closure to optimize cosmesis and minimize postoperative pain.


Surgery is successful in restoring the patient’s clavicle length, anatomy of the shoulder girdle, and obtaining healing of the recurrent fracture to eliminate deformity. Physical therapy is undertaken to strengthen the muscles of the shoulder with an emphasis on the scapular stabilizers which are responsibility for stability of the shoulder blade. She is then able to return to her desired activities without limitation.

Motion restored, clavicle healed, postoperative clinical image, clavicle surgery, Rudzki
Optimal outcome, successful result, clavicle surgery, Rudzki

“Dr. Rudzki and his staff handled my surgery and recovery with dedicated professionalism, care, kindness, and support. From providing detailed information and valuable resources beginning with my first appointment, on through personalized follow up visits, and finally a regime of suggested recovery activities, I could not have asked for a better outcome. I would highly recommend Dr. Rudzki and WOSM to anyone with a sports injury! After fracturing my collarbone a second time in less than one year’s time, I thought contact sports would no longer be a part of my life, but after speaking with Dr. Rudzki and learning his surgical philosophy of not just patching up a patient so they can live pain free day to day, but seeing the person, how they live their life, and getting them back to whatever their passion may be, I knew it would only be a matter of time. Thanks to Dr. Rudzki, his exceptional surgical skills and recommended recovery program, I am back to doing what I love and confident that I am as strong as ever.”
“I think it’s worth mentioning that after having surgery in March 2010, I was back to downhill skiing in January 2011. I’ve been astounded at how little the injury impacts my daily life; I haven’t hesitated to do anything, and have been so thankful for finding such a skilled surgeon and physical therapy team!

It’s been just over 7 years since surgery, and while recovery felt like a long process at the time, doing it right has made all the difference. In addition to returning to roller derby, I’ve run countless races (including 3 half marathons, and my hardest yet – a 5k yesterday at 6 months pregnant!), completed my scuba certification, kayaked and canoed, went on a three week trek in the Himalayas, skiing trips (downhill and x-country), ran fitness classes and boot camps with US Marines, completed two international moves (and am working on a third – currently in the process of moving back overseas to India)…and I haven’t set off one metal detector :). I’m also able to keep up with my toddler, which is pretty exhausting!”

Our team works collaboratively with patients to solve problems. One of the best parts of this process is the relationship that forms moving forward as we periodically stay in touch to share in the great moments that follow recovery.

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About the Author:

Dr. Rudzki is an expert orthopedic surgeon who specializes in sports medicine with a focus on arthroscopic surgery of the shoulder, knee and elbow.

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