Comparison of single coracoclavicular suture fixation and hook plate for the treatment of acute unstable distal clavicle fractures

Chun-Yu Chen, Shan-Wei Yang, Kuan-Yu Lin, Kai-Cheng Lin, Yih-Wen Tarng, Jenn-Huei Renn, Chia-Hsin Lai
Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research 2014 May 29, 9: 42

BACKGROUND: Surgical managements are recommended for unstable distal clavicle fractures because of a high incidence of nonunion. A variety of methods have been previously reported, but there is no current consensus regarding which method is the most suitable.

METHODS: Between December 2004 and August 2010, we treated 68 patients with Neer type IIB distal clavicle fractures using single coracoclavicular suture fixation with Mersilene tape (M group) or clavicular hook plate (H group). Sixty-eight patients were followed at least 24 months (mean, 37.9 months). We retrospectively compared the functional outcome, parameters, and perioperative course of the two treatments. Statistical analysis was performed with independent sample t test and chi-square test.

RESULTS: The M group presented significantly less operation time (P = 0.005) and intra-operative blood loss (P = 0.010) than the H group. The mean University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) shoulder rating scale, Oxford shoulder score, VAS scale, and satisfaction score revealed no significant difference between the M group and the H group. The M group had better range of motion in the operated shoulder during forward flexion and abduction at 3 and 6 months postoperatively. However, the range of motion at 1 and 2 years after operation revealed almost the same results. Two acromial osteolysis and one acromial fracture were noted in the H group and one superficial wound infection and one frozen shoulder in the M group during follow-up. Finally, there was no significant difference in the complication rate between the two groups, and all fractures achieved union clinically at final follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS: Both single coracoclavicular suture fixation and clavicular hook plate offered effective treatment in acute unstable distal clavicle fractures. However, single coracoclavicular suture fixation with Mersilene tape provided early recovery of shoulder motion and avoided further morbidity of the acromion.

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