The shoulder consists of three main bones, namely: the humerus (upper arm bone), scapula (shoulder blade) and clavicle (collarbone).
The shoulder consists of three main bones, namely: the humerus (upper arm bone), scapula (shoulder blade) and clavicle (collarbone). Any trauma sustained in one of these three bones can cause pain, weakness or limited mobility in the shoulder.
There are several forms of fractures that may require shoulder surgery, the most common being a clavicle fracture and a humerus fracture.
The collarbone is a thin, S-shaped bone that lies horizontally between the shoulder blade and breastbone. A broken collarbone or clavicle fracture is a common injury, and can occur at any age.
Causes: A clavicle fracture is most commonly caused by a direct blow to the collarbone during a fall, vehicular accident or injury while engaging in contact sports. The fracture may also be a result of a birth injury sustained when a baby passes through a tight birth canal.
Apart from a physical exam, the doctor may recommend an X-ray or CT scan to determine the location and severity of the clavicle fracture.
Most cases of clavicle fractures can heal on their own with sufficient rest and immobilising the collarbone using an arm sling. The doctor may also prescribe medicines to reduce pain and swelling. Physiotherapy also help restore function and mobility to the shoulder.
In severe cases, especially if the fracture has penetrated the skin, or if the collarbone is seriously displaced, shoulder surgery may be recommended. Open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) are the most common surgical treatment for clavicle fractures, which involves repositioning the displaced bones to their original alignment, then keeping them in place using metal plates/pins and screws. Your shoulder surgeon will determine which treatment is most suitable for you.
The upper arm bone is a long, vertical bone that runs from the shoulder down to the elbow. Any break in the humerus is considered as a humerus fracture.
Similar to a clavicle fracture, a humerus fracture may be caused by a hard blow from a fall or a high-impact collision from contact sports or vehicular accidents. Humerus fractures may also be caused by conditions that weaken the bones, including osteoporosis and bone cancer.
Your surgeon can diagnose a humerus fracture by palpating the area for any pain, swelling, tenderness and deformity during a physical exam. To determine the type, severity and location of the fracture, an X-ray, CT scan or MRI may be performed.
Generally speaking, proximal and mid-shaft humerus fractures typically do not require surgery, and can usually heal on their own with the aid of immobilisation and sufficient rest through arm slings and braces.
Distal fractures and more severe proximal and mid-shaft fractures, however, may require shoulder surgery, such as:
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