Background: Controversy continues with regard to decision making for operative treatment of adolescent clavicle fractures, while the literature continues to support operative treatment for select middle third fractures in adults. The purpose of our study was to evaluate the recent trends in nonoperative and operative management of adolescent clavicle fractures in the United States.
Methods: Data were derived from a publicly available database of patients, PearlDiver Patient Records Database. The database was queried for ICD-9 810.02 (closed fracture of shaft of clavicle), with the age restriction of either 10 to 14 or 15 to 19 years old, along with CPT-23500 (closed treatment of clavicular fracture) and CPT-23515 (open treatment of clavicular fracture) from 2007 to 2011. The χ2 analysis was used to determine statistical significance with regard to procedural volumes, sex, and region. The Student t test was used to compare average charges between groups.
Results: A significant increase in the number of adolescent clavicle fractures managed operatively (CPT-23510, ages 10 to 19 y) from 309 in 2007 to 530 in 2011 was observed (P<0.0001). There was a significantly greater increase in operative management of clavicle fractures in the age 15 to 19 subgroup compared with the age 10 to 14 subgroup (P<0.0001). In the operative group, there was a trend toward a higher number of males being managed with operative intervention. The overall average monetary charge for both nonoperatively and operatively managed adolescent clavicle fractures increased significantly in the study period. A statistically significant increase in normalized incidence of operatively managed adolescent clavicle fractures was noted in the midwest, south, and west regions with the greatest increase in west region where the incidence increased over 2-fold (P<0.0001).
Conclusions: Adolescent clavicle fractures seem to be being treated increasingly with open reduction and internal fixation recently, especially in the 15 to 19 age group. Nevertheless, there remains of lack of high-level studies comparing outcomes of operative and conservative treatment specifically for the adolescent population to justify this recent trend.
Level of Evidence: Level IV—retrospective database analysis.