Treatment of unstable distal clavicle fractures using two suture anchors and suture tension bands

Sang-Jin Shin, Kwon Jae Roh, Jong Oh Kim, Hoon-Sang Sohn
Injury 2009, 40 (12): 1308-12

OBJECTIVE: The study presents a surgical technique using two suture anchors combined with two non-absorbable suture tension bands and the clinical and radiological results obtained in patients with acute distal clavicle fractures associated with coracoclavicular ligaments disruption.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Nineteen patients with distal clavicle fractures were included with a mean follow-up of 25 months. All patients had type IIb fractures according to the Neer classification. Coracoclavicular ligaments were reconstructed using two suture anchors to maintain distal clavicle in an anatomical position, and supplementary interfragmentary fixation was performed using two non-absorbable suture tension bands in figure-of-eight configurations. Functional outcomes were assessed at final follow-up visits using the Constant score.

RESULTS: The numbers of lateral fragments averaged 1.4. Seventeen patients maintained the same vertical coracoclavicular distance between both shoulders. However, in two patients, the coracoclavicular distance of the injured shoulder increased by 50% compared with that of the contralateral shoulder. Fracture union was obtained in 18 patients at a mean 4.8 months postoperatively. One patient had symptomatic nonunion until 9 months postoperatively, and subsequently, distal clavicle resection was performed. Two patients showed delayed union and achieved fracture union at 9 and 10 months postoperatively, respectively. Clavicular erosion was found in two patients. The lateral fragment of one patient united in an upward angulated position caused by over-tightening of the medial clavicle. The average Constant score improved to 94.

CONCLUSION: Coracoclavicular reconstruction using two suture anchors and supplementary interfragmentary fixation using two non-absorbable suture tension bands for acute distal clavicle fracture are reliable techniques for restoring stability in patients with acute distal clavicle fracture.

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