Use of plate fixation without coracoclavicular ligament augmentation for unstable distal clavicle fractures

Sang-Jin Shin, Young-Won Ko, Juyeob Lee, Min-Gyue Park
Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery 2016, 25 (6): 942-8

BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the clinical and radiologic outcomes of unstable distal clavicle fractures treated with anatomic plate fixation without coracoclavicular ligament augmentation and to compare the outcome of Neer type IIA with that of type IIB.

METHODS: Twenty-five patients with unstable distal clavicle fractures who underwent anatomic plate fixation without coracoclavicular ligament augmentation were enrolled prospectively, including 9 patients of Neer type IIA and 16 patients of Neer type IIB. Clinical outcomes were evaluated using Constant and University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) scores. Coracoclavicular distance was measured on plain radiographs.

RESULTS: Bone union was achieved in all patients. Satisfactory clinical and radiologic outcomes were obtained regardless of fracture type. After operation, the mean coracoclavicular distance on the injured side was increased by 10% compared with the uninjured side. However, between the patients who showed an increased coracoclavicular distance >10% (Constant score, 89.4 ± 3.7; UCLA score, 32.6 ± 3) and the patients with increased coracoclavicular distance <10% of the uninjured side (Constant score, 88.7 ± 3.6; UCLA score, 31.9 ± 3), there was no statistically significant difference in clinical outcomes of Constant score (P = .934) and UCLA score (P = .598).

CONCLUSION: In unstable distal clavicle fractures, precontoured anatomic plate fixation without coracoclavicular ligament augmentation showed satisfactory clinical outcomes and high union rates even with a small lateral fragment. Patients who had increased coracoclavicular distance also demonstrated satisfactory shoulder functional outcomes regardless of the fracture type. Therefore, anatomic plate fixation without additional coracoclavicular ligament augmentation can be considered one of the treatment options for unstable distal clavicle fracture.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level IV; Case Series; Treatment Study.

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