Elastic stable intramedullary nailing versus nonoperative treatment of displaced midshaft clavicular fractures-a randomized, controlled, clinical trial.

From the Department of Trauma Surgery and Sports Medicine, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria.
Journal of orthopaedic trauma (Impact Factor: 1.78). 03/2009; 23(2):106-12. DOI: 10.1097/BOT.0b013e318190cf88
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To compare elastic stable intramedullary nailing (ESIN) with nonoperative treatment of fully displaced midshaft clavicular fractures in adults.
The study was a randomized, controlled, clinical trial.
Level 1 trauma center.
Sixty patients between 18 and 65 years of age participated and completed the study. They were randomized to either operative or nonoperative treatment with a 2-year follow-up.
Thirty patients were treated with a simple shoulder sling and 30 patients with ESIN within 3 days after trauma.
Complications after operative and nonoperative treatments, Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH) score and Constant Shoulder Score for outcome measurement, and clavicular shortening.
Fracture union was achieved in all patients in the operative group, whereas nonunion was observed in 3 of 30 patients of the nonoperative group. Two symptomatic malunions required corrective osteotomy in the nonoperative group. Medial nail protrusion occurred in 7 cases in the operative group. Implant failure with revision surgery was necessary in 2 patients after an additional adequate trauma. DASH scores were lower in the operative group throughout the first 6 months and 2 years after trauma, with a significant difference during the first 18 weeks. Constant scores were significantly higher after 6 months and 2 years after intramedullary stabilization. Patients in the operative group showed a significant improvement of posttraumatic clavicular shortening; they were also more satisfied with cosmetic appearance and overall outcome.
ESIN of displaced midshaft clavicular fractures resulted in a lower rate of nonunion and delayed union, a faster return to daily activities, and a better functional outcome. Clavicular shortening was significantly lower, and overall satisfaction was higher in the operative group.

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