I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Bone Fracture Lawyer. There are many ways that someone can break their clavicle. Injuries sustained in a serious car accident is one of them.
What is a Clavicle Fracture?
The clavicle is also known as the collarbone and helps to connect the arm to the body. It helps to coordinate the movements of the upper arm to keep it in sync with the sternum and the scapula. A fracture in the collarbone is called a clavicle fracture.
Clavicle Fracture Causes
There are numerous causes for a clavicle fracture. Sometimes, people are struck by collapsing furniture. Clavicle fractures are also one of the types of injuries associated with falls. This fracture is also common in auto accidents. If a car is struck from the side, the impact of the window and door near the passenger or driver’s arm, may fracture their clavicle.
Bone fractures are painful and people will usually receive pain medication to ease the sting of the injury. If the bone is sticking out from the skin, antibiotics may be necessary. If the fracture is not displaced, patients may be given a sling to immobilize the clavicle and prevent further injury from developing. This will keep the bone in the proper location and give the injury time to heal. If x-rays reveal a displaced fracture, surgery may be necessary.
A Clavicle Fracture can have Complications
The most common complication of a clavicle fracture is infection. It is not unusual for the clavicle to stick out from the skin, creating a portal for bacteria to enter the body and create an infection. One of the other major risks is bleeding due to the numerous blood vessels in the area. If the bone fracture becomes displaced and damages these blood vessels, the bleeding can be severe.
What Other Structures are at Risk?
There are numerous structures at risk with a clavicle fracture. Brachial plexus injuries can occur because the brachial plexus is directly beneath the upper arm near the clavicle. There are major vessels such as the subclavian artery and vein that reside in the upper arm that are definitely at risk. Most people don’t realize that the lung is actually in play during a clavicle fracture as well. If the bone punctures the lung, the lung could collapse or fill with blood. This can place the patient in dire straits.
The Differential Diagnosis
There are several items on the differential diagnosis including:
- Scapula Fracture
- Humerus Fracture
- Shoulder Sprain
- Glenoid Fracture
- Rotator Cuff Injuries
- Rib Fracture
The Injury Prognosis
Because a clavicle fracture is a common injury, the prognosis is typically positive. Most clavicle fractures do not require surgery and will heal on their own in six to eight weeks after being placed in a sling. Physical therapy may be necessary to restore movement. Sometimes, patients will require surgery to realign the bones.
Reasons for Surgery
If x-rays reveal a displaced fracture, surgery is necessary to align the bones and facilitate proper healing. Surgery may also be needed if nerves are damaged, vessels are ligated, or if the lung has collapsed. These are emergent indications for surgery and handled on a case by case basis.
Sacramento Clavical Fracture Injury Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Bone Fracture Lawyer. Anyone who has suffered a traumatic injury in an auto accident should contact my office at (916) 921-6400 for friendly, free advice. Those from outside the local area should use my toll-free line at (800) 404-5400.
I am a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. By winning multiple million-dollar verdicts for past clients, we have joined this group of top trial lawyers.
All of my prior verdicts and settlements can be viewed here.
Image Attribution: Wikimedia Commons By James Heilman, MD