Clavicle fractures in adults; current concepts

  • Herman FrimaEmail author
  • Mark van Heijl
  • Christian Michelitsch
  • Olivier van der Meijden
  • Frank J. P. Beeres
  • Roderick M. Houwert
  • Christoph Sommer
Review Article



For decades, clavicle fractures have been treated conservatively. In the last 20 years, however, non-union rates after conservative treatment appear higher than previously reported and more evidence regarding operative treatment has become available. This has led to a paradigm shift towards an increase in operative treatment. The aim of this review is to present the current concepts and available evidence regarding clavicle fracture treatment.


Conservative and operative treatment options together with their indications for medial, shaft and lateral clavicle fractures are discussed. For all three anatomical locations, a treatment algorithm is proposed.


In general, non-displaced fractures are treated conservatively. Operative treatment has to be discussed with patients with displaced clavicle fractures, especially in the young and active patient.


Clavicle Fracture Conservative treatment Operative treatment Treatment options 



The authors thank Michelle Reynolds for the excellent copy-editing of this manuscript.


There was no external source of funding for this study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Herman Frima, Mark van Heijl, Christian Michelitsch, Olivier van der Meijden, Frank J.P. Beeres, Roderick M. Houwert and Christoph Sommer declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Trauma SurgeryKantonsspital GraubündenChurSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of SurgeryDiakonessenhuisUtrechtThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Institut Universitaire de Locomotion et du SportCentre Hospitalier Universitaire de NiceNiceFrance
  4. 4.Department of Trauma SurgeryLuzerner KantonsspitalLucerneSwitzerland
  5. 5.Utrecht TraumacenterUniversitair Medisch Centrum UtrechtUtrechtThe Netherlands

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