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Treatment of distal clavicle fracture using Kirschner wires and tension-band wires.

Journal of Trauma 2001 September
BACKGROUND: Nonunion frequently follows distal clavicle fracture. Traditional pinning methods using the through acromioclavicular articulation may result in osteoarthritic changes or ankylosis. This study introduces a direct pinning technique in which the acromioclavicular joint is spared.

METHODS: Twelve patients with displaced distal clavicle fractures received open reduction and fixation with Kirschner wires (K-wires) and tension-band wires, from May 1996 to March 1997. The indication for surgery was type IIa fracture or fracture with displacement. Unrestricted passive and active range of motion was performed as soon as possible after the operation. Stretching and exertional exercises were permitted after radiographs showed an osseous union and after the implants were removed.

RESULTS: Eleven patients achieved osseous union with painless full motion. Union time ranged from 3 to 6 months. One patient suffered from more comminuted fracture because of a fall 2 months after operation. This patient received a revision surgery with distal clavicle resection and coracoclavicle reconstruction. Symptomless ossification around the coracoclavicle ligament was noted on radiographs in one patient. The ossification did not progress after the 9-month follow-up.

CONCLUSION: Edwards reported a rate of 45% delayed union and 30% nonunion in type II fractures. Several techniques had been described in the relevant literature. In our practice, fixation with Kirschner wires and tension-band wires has been successful in the treatment for displaced distal clavicle fracture.

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