Minimally invasive fixation of displaced midclavicular fractures with titanium elastic nails

Ping-Cheng Liu, Song-Hsiung Chien, Jian-Chih Chen, Chih-Hsin Hsieh, Pei-His Chou, Cheng-Chang Lu
Journal of Orthopaedic Trauma 2010, 24 (4): 217-23

OBJECTIVES: Clavicular fractures account for 2.6% of all fractures, and more than 80% involve the middle third of the clavicle. Plate fixation has been the most common method of fixation reported but has been associated with complications such as infection, wound breakdown, nonunion, implant failures, poor cosmetic outcome, and local skin numbness. We report on a series of cases receiving minimally invasive insertion of titanium elastic nails (TEN) to fix the displaced midclavicular fractures.

DESIGN: Prospective, clinical study.

SETTING: Regional referral center.

PATIENTS/PARTICIPANTS: From November 2006 to October 2007, we operated on 23 patients (16 men) with displaced (no cortical contact between the proximal and distal fragments radiographically and/or greater than 2 cm of shortening) midclavicular fractures fixed with TEN. The mean age of the patients was 41.57 years.

INTERVENTION: All patients with displaced midclavicular fractures were treated with TEN. The nails were inserted from the medial entry point on the sternal end and passed through the fracture site under fluoroscopy monitoring.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS: Complications, clavicular shortening after TEN fixation, Constant shoulder score, and Disability of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand score for functional outcome measurement.

RESULTS: Closed reduction was successful in 16 patients, and seven patients needed open reduction. There was no nonunion, infection, nail breakage, or refracture after nail removal in our series. The mean operative wound length was 2.2 cm, and mean clavicular length shortening was 0.32 cm. Iatrogenic perforation of the lateral cortex occurred in two patients, and nail misplacement occurred in one patient requiring revision. All patients followed up greater than 12 months. The mean Disability of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand score was 6 (range, 0-35; standard deviation, 10.47) and mean Constant score was 96 (range, 78-100; standard deviation, 6.34).

CONCLUSIONS: Minimally invasive fixation with TEN is a safe method and can be performed with minor complications. This method of fixation of displaced midclaviclular fractures should result in a good cosmetic appearance and satisfactory stabilization of displaced midclavicular fractures without comminution.

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