Dear Dr. Millett,

My son sustained a fracture of the left clavicle, middle third of the bone. The x-ray shows a distinct break. How long would a break like this take to heal? He is currently in a figure eight brace awaiting a doctor’s appointment.


Dear Russell,

Clavicle fractures can be managed in several different ways depending on the severity. I surgically fix many of the more significantly displaced ones to allow patients to get a faster recovery and to improve the functional outcome. Your son may be a candidate for this type of minimally-invasive surgery for this particular problem. We use both plates and screws and specially-designed pins that hold the bone fragments in place while they heal. However, as you can imagine, there can be many different factors to consider for shoulder injuries such as your son’s. I would want to look at the surrounding ligaments and tissue to see if further damage or injury has occurred. Furthermore, as you might expect, there can be several treatment options and risks with benefits with each type that I would be happy to discuss with you. A timetable for healing varies from person to person and will depend solely on the factors mentioned above.

Best regards,
Dr. Millett