Surgical treatment of unstable fractures of the distal clavicle: a comparative study of Kirschner wire and clavicular hook plate fixation

Tapio Flinkkilä, Jukka Ristiniemi, Pekka Hyvönen, Martti Hämäläinen
Acta Orthopaedica Scandinavica 2002, 73 (1): 50-3
During 1988-1999 39 unstable fractures of the distal clavicle (Neer 2) were operated on in Oulu University Hospital. Kirschner wire (K-wire) fixation was used in 22 cases and a clavicular hook plate in 17. Shoulder symptoms and function were assessed using self-administered questionnaires devised by L'Insalata et al. (1997), and Constant scoring. Mean follow-up was 6.2 years in the K-wire fixation group and 2.0 years in the clavicular hook plate one. The mean L'Insalata scores were 91 in both groups (92% and 93% of the contralateral side) and the mean Constant scores 84 (95% and 90 (96%) for K-wire fixation and the clavicular hook plate, respectively. Complications commonly occurred with K-wires, which migrated in 12 cases, resulting in loss of reduction in 7 and infection in 3, and 2 cases of non-union. In the clavicular hook plate group, there was 1 complication, a fracture of the clavicle, and 2 cases of non-union. We conclude that shoulder symptoms were reduced and function restored to an adequate level by both methods, but complications were unacceptably frequent when K-wires were used. The clavicular hook plate was better in this respect and it is therefore recommended.

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