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Fractured Clavicle in a Newborn

Last updated May 4, 2018

A Fractured Clavicle in a Newborn is an injury that occurs, when the bone that lies between the sternum (ribcage) and scapula (shoulder blade) fractures, prior to, or just after delivery of the infant.


What are the other Names for this Condition? (Also known as/Synonyms)

  • Clavicle Fracture (Neonate)
  • Collarbone Fracture in a Newborn
  • Fractured Collarbone in a Newborn

What is Fractured Clavicle in a Newborn? (Definition/Background Information)

  • A Fractured Clavicle in a Newborn is an injury that occurs, when the bone that lies between the sternum (ribcage) and scapula (shoulder blade) fractures, prior to, or just after delivery of the infant
  • The area surrounding the clavicle consists of many vital nerves and blood vessels.  However, these critical structures are seldom damaged, when the clavicle is fractured
  • The majority of Clavicle Fractures in Newborns occur during a complicated delivery

Who gets Fractured Clavicle in a Newborn? (Age and Sex Distribution)

Infants, irrespective of any race, ethnic group, and gender, may experience a Clavicle Fracture after delivery, or just prior to delivery.

What are the Risk Factors for Fractured Clavicle in a Newborn? (Predisposing Factors)

A difficult vaginal delivery may increase the risk of a newborn experiencing a Clavicle Fracture.

It is important to note that having a risk factor does not mean that one will get the condition. A risk factor increases ones chances of getting a condition compared to an individual without the risk factors. Some risk factors are more important than others.

Also, not having a risk factor does not mean that an individual will not get the condition. It is always important to discuss the effect of risk factors with your healthcare provider.

What are the Causes of Fractured Clavicle in a Newborn? (Etiology)

  • A difficult vaginal delivery or breech birth complications may cause a Clavicle Fracture in a Newborn
  • The fracture normally occurs as the child passes through the birth canal, in such cases

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Fractured Clavicle in a Newborn?

The signs and symptoms associated with Clavicle Fracture in a Newborn depend on the extent of the fracture. These include:

  • Pain associated with movement, in the infant’s shoulder. The baby may cry when picked up
  • Noticeable shoulder deformity (or even a bruise) at the site where the injury occurred
  • Visible enlargement (swelling or bump) of the shoulder muscle is usually observed after a few weeks. In some cases, this may be the only indicator of a fracture

How is Fractured Clavicle in a Newborn Diagnosed?

Common tests that can help determine the extent of a Clavicle Fracture in a Newborn include:

  • Physical examination of the newborn
  • Use of X-rays to determine the extent of the fracture, identifying the exact location, and how the clavicle fracture affects the surrounding joints

Many clinical conditions may have similar signs and symptoms. Your healthcare provider may perform additional tests to rule out other clinical conditions to arrive at a definitive diagnosis.

What are the possible Complications of Fractured Clavicle in a Newborn?

There are usually no complications associated with a Fractured Clavicle in a Newborn, due to the infant’s inherent ability to heal completely.

How is Fractured Clavicle in a Newborn Treated?

  • If an infant sustains a clavicle fracture during childbirth, healing usually occurs without the requirement of a treatment
  • Careful handling of the child is sufficient enough. The healthcare provider may suggest proper baby handling techniques (related to lifting the baby, proper positioning, etc.)
  • Occasionally, a physician may immobilize the affected side by using the infants sleeve as a splint. An icepack can help subside the swelling in the shoulder
  • If necessary, the physician may prescribe pain medication
  • Follow-up X-rays are used to determine how the fracture heels

How can Fractured Clavicle in a Newborn be Prevented?

The majority of Clavicle Fractures in Newborns occur accidentally, during childbirth. It is difficult to predict and avoid such an occurrence, during the delivery period.

What is the Prognosis of Fractured Clavicle in a Newborn? (Outcomes/Resolutions)

There are usually no complications associated with Clavicle Fracture in a Newborn and a full recovery is expected, without any treatment.

Additional and Relevant Useful Information for Fractured Clavicle in a Newborn:

The following DoveMed website link is a useful resource for additional information:

https://www.dovemed.com/health-topics/orthopedc-disorders/

What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?


References and Information Sources used for the Article:


Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:


Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Oct. 10, 2015
Last updated: May 4, 2018

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