The clavicle, also known as the collarbone, is an important protective structure in the body. Because of its proximity to the surface of the body, with very little padding, the clavicle is prone to fracture during falls. Clavicle fractures are relatively common amongst broken bones. The clavicle helps maintain arm position, anchors various muscles in the chest, neck, shoulder, and back, and protects various nerves and blood vessels in the upper body. Fortunately, regenerative medicine has shown promise in helping heal those who have suffered a clavicle fracture.
Those who have suffered a clavicle fracture know it is fairly obvious once it happens. The most common symptoms of a fractured collar bone include pain around the location of the fracture, in addition to swelling, bruising, or potential deformity of the structure. One these symptoms occur, patients should go have their clavicle evaluated by a physician. Doctors are able to diagnose a fractured clavicle by physical examination, patient history, and x-ray images.
Because the clavicle is such a long bone, fractures can occur in many different areas within the clavicle. It can break into multiple pieces, or may just break in one place. This often depends on what kind of impact caused the break in the first place. Typically, clavicle fractures result from direct impact to the shoulder, either through a fall, accident, or some kind of a blow. Regardless of what caused the clavicle fracture, it is a very painful condition to deal with and requires medical attention immediately.
In most cases, fractured collar bones can heal without surgery. A sling or brace, pain medication, and physical therapy are the more common treatments for a fractured clavicle. A sling is necessary to keep your clavicle immobilized so that it can heal. Pain medication helps make the healing process more tolerable. And, physical therapy is necessary to maintain full range of motion after the incident. In some instances, when pieces of the bone have moved out of place, surgery may be necessary. There are various types of surgery to help weld the broken pieces of bone together and ensure they do not move out of place during the healing process.
As more research has been done on stem cells and regenerative medicine, more applications of the techniques have been found. One of these techniques is healing broken bones. In some cases, patients may be a candidate to use regenerative medicine to help the healing process of a fractured clavicle. Stem cells help the body to harness its own healing ability and speed up the healing process. This is revolutionary because it may prevent surgery in patients who may have had no other choice.
Clavicle fractures are painful but are relatively common due to the placement of the clavicle in the body. While most fractures are able to heal on their own, some require more intensive care. Previously, surgery was the only step if more conservative healing measures failed. However, regenerative therapies have shown a significant amount of promise in acting as a mildly invasive treatment option for those who are not having success with more conservative clavicle fracture treatments.
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