BACKGROUND:
A clavicle fracture is a common traumatic injury. However, the high percentage of distal clavicle fractures associated with a rupture of the coracoclavicular (CC) ligament can result in delayed union or nonunion. There is no standard treatment for a clavicle fracture. This report introduces a method for treating distal clavicle fractures associated with a ruptured CC ligament using a cannulated screw.

METHODS:
Seventeen patients suffering from a clavicle fracture caused by a rupture of the CC ligament were treated with a closed reduction and a cannulated screw fixation technique. Twelve patients were male and five were female and the average age was 30.5 years (range, 8-64 years). The patients were assessed using a clinical and radiologic evaluation as well as by the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) shoulder rating scale for 12 to 16 months after surgery.

RESULTS:
After confirming the formation of a callus, the implants were routinely removed approximately 8 weeks after surgery in all patients except for one. In this patient, the implant was removed 16 weeks after surgery as a result of a loosened screw, which caused displacement at the fracture site. During the final follow-up, the fracture site displayed nonunion and a partially limited range of motion (ROM). The shoulder function of the other 16 patients was restored to the preinjury level after 4 approximately 6 months of treatment. In one patient, heterotopic ossification was observed along the CC ligament without any functional deficit. All but one patient showed good results according to the UCLA scale.

CONCLUSIONS:
The cannulated screw fixation technique can maintain the rigid fixation of fracture fragments and allow an early return to work and sport activities. Therefore, the cannulated screw fixation technique is expected to be a useful method for treating distal clavicle fractures associated with a coracoclavicular ligament rupture.





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