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Dual Versus Single-Plate Fixation of Midshaft Clavicular Fractures



Implant-related symptoms are the most common reason for reoperation after open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) of midshaft clavicular fractures. Dual mini-fragment plate fixation is a relatively new solution that may decrease implant prominence while maintaining fixation strength and function. There are minimal published data comparing reoperation rates and clinical outcomes between single, superior-plate constructs and dual mini-fragment plate constructs in the fixation of midshaft clavicular fractures. We hypothesized that reducing plate size with the use of dual mini-fragment plating compared with standard, 3.5-mm, superior plating would minimize implant symptoms and the corresponding need for reoperation while still providing sufficient fixation to allow fracture-healing and return to function.


We retrospectively reviewed the cases of 44 consecutive patients who underwent ORIF of displaced midshaft clavicular fractures utilizing either a single, 3.5-mm, superior plate construct (21 patients) or a dual, 2.7-mm and 2.4-mm, plate construct (23 patients). Outcomes at a minimum of 2 years were assessed. Primary outcome measures included reoperation for any reason and the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons (ASES) Standardized Shoulder Assessment Form, patient self-report section.


There was a 100% union rate in both groups. None (0%) of the 23 patients who received the dual (2.7-mm and 2.4-mm) plate construct and 6 (29%) of the 21 patients who received the single (3.5-mm) plate construct underwent reoperation for implant-related symptoms. Using a Fisher exact test, the rate of reoperation was compared between the groups, and the difference was found to be significant (p = 0.008). Using an unpaired t test, the difference in mean ASES scores was not significant (p = 0.138) between the dual-plate group (98 of 100) and the single superior plate group (96 of 100) with retained implants.


In our comparative retrospective series, dual fixation utilizing a 2.7-mm superior plate and a 2.4-mm anterior plate for the treatment of displaced midshaft clavicular fractures was associated with a significantly lower rate of reoperation when compared with single, 3.5-mm, superior plate fixation.

Level of evidence

Therapeutic Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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