Clavicle plate *removal*

Discussion in 'General' started by tophyr, Oct 11, 2021.

  1. tophyr

    tophyr Parkour Champion

    Anyone ever broken their collarbone, had it plated, and then had the plate removed?

    I have plates on both collarbones, and as I get older and wiser and (a little bit) more cautious I've started to become a little wary of "what if I break my collarbone again?"

    When I asked that question to the surgeon when I got my first plate put in (2011), he just kinda looked at me funny and said "yeah, definitely don't do that." (And then explained that the plate is flexible and would bend, so the collarbone is not structurally-reinforced or anything.)

    My understanding is that the plates can either stay in forever or come out; they shouldn't (and currently don't) cause any problems but the bone's structural integrity also doesn't rely on it. I also know that if the plates and screws are removed, I would have to go through the typical 6-8wk bone heal time to let the clavicles fill in the screw-holes.

    The only reason I'm thinking about taking it out is fear of the what-if, because I definitely plan to continue racing and if there's one thing we know it's that racers break collarbones... and I imagine a plated clavicle break to be at the very best an extremely unpleasant experience and, at the worst, potentially life-threatening with loose sharp steel bits near very important parts of the body.

    Anyone looked into, or done, this already?
  2. Clay

    Clay Well-Known Member

    Yup. I had mine taken out as soon as I was healed enough to do so. I could feel my skin stretching over it while working out and it didn't feel pleasant. I also don't like foreign material being in my body if I can help it. I had already met my yearly deductible from the crash that caused it in the first place. (Hit a dear coming home from work, late at night.)

    I can say, my collarbone feels kinda nasty under the skin. It was shattered and they pieced it back together. You can feel that.
  3. tophyr

    tophyr Parkour Champion

    I assume you haven't rebroken it since? I don't know of any other way to determine if it's "as strong"... I guess with bones it's either strong enough, or it isn't, lol.

    How was the healing process? Were you able to (very lightly) use your arm? I'm a software engineer and I'd ideally like to do both clavicles at once, BUT that brings in concerns of disabling both arms at the same time. I need to be able to type on a computer keyboard, I need to be able to drive (an automatic), and I need to be able to wipe my butt. Those are my functionality minimums, lol.
  4. Evad101

    Evad101 Well-Known Member

    Chris, my Dr told me to leave mine in.

    I went to see him about the constant discomfort I feel from it/the break, etc. He Xray, check it all out and said it healed perfectly and the pain is due to having to cut through a main nerve to do the operation. He said they'd have to cut through it again and the bone would have to then heal again.

    I asked about breaking with the plate in there. He said if it happens it happens but its technically stronger with it in though the ends of the bone without the plate are now the week points.

    At then end of it, he basically said I need to man up and deal with the pain so I basically just ignore it. Fortunately its a dull ache/pressure pain, not sharp shooting/stabbing. Much easier to deal with.

    Thats my $.02, can I have change please? :D
  5. damiankelly

    damiankelly Well-Known Member

    I Have one plate each side. Doc said leave em in.. He had a patient break plated clavicle and plate bent so had to put in new plate. No major problem in this case- all crashes are different so asking for advice Is fruitless.

    -I’m not going to offer medical advice here!!..only this..

    Do you have a air suit or vest? The best investment in protection for future damages to yourself.

    I found DAIR Dainese to have the best protection when it deployed. I currently run an Astars vest in RS taichi suit. (Because the custom taichi fits amazing) And years ago used a Hit Air.

    What do you use?
  6. Clay

    Clay Well-Known Member

    No, haven't rebroken it but I haven't had a crash since either. I've long quit racing. But, the holes where the screws were should fill back in and calcify. Ask your doc to be sure, obviously. Mine just feels so f'ed up because it look like I took a bullet to the bone, it was totally in pieces.

    I don't remember the healing process as being bad, but since I don't remember it much but I SURE do remember after the crash, it must not have been bad. Just the pain from being sliced again, but don't remember there being any pain in the bone.
  7. tophyr

    tophyr Parkour Champion

    Ironically, the second clavicle plate is from the very first time I wore a D-Air suit.
  8. Sherry E SANDRUCK

    Sherry E SANDRUCK Active Member

    I cannot speak for collar bones…. I have a plate on my femur that I got when I was 11 and it has so much bone built up around it that it is never coming out
  9. Gino230

    Gino230 Well-Known Member

    The doc who did mine works on alot of NFL players. He says they almost always leave them in. If you crash again they will go in there and fix it again. That scenario happened to a friend of mine, collarbone broke off at the end of the already installed plate.

    Mine doesn't bother me, it's been in since 2015. I still have discomfort on the skin around it, from the nerves that were cut, but it's nothing like it was when it was first done.

    I would say spend the money on an Air suit, but it sounds like you already did that with not the best results- there was an article I read about D-air technology, when it was introduced to MotoGP, they went from like 18 broken collarbones per season to 2! That was all the convincing I needed.
  10. ekraft84

    ekraft84 Registered User

    An extra surgery just to take the plate out? No thanks. If I break it again, it's likely going to need surgery again - plate or no plate.

    I've had mine since 2008, no issues. And I crushed/mangled it up good.
  11. pjzocc

    pjzocc Well-Known Member

    My right collarbone in 2013 was a clean break but 300% displaced. Doc said it could come out but I left it and the 10 screws in. I don't notice it anymore. My left collarbone this past May was pretty nasty (4 pieces, big plate from humeral head to sternum, 15 screws). Not even thinking about taking that one out. I'm sure it'll be more noticeable over time, but not too terribly concerned about that part of it. Honestly, keeping the left one in probably helps to keep the collarbone protected in the event of another dismount. Plus, having all that titanium in me probably increases my resale value down the road.

    A plate 10 years old is going to have tissue built up around it and after this much time, I gotta believe it'd be a heck of a recovery vs. having had it out 6 months post original surgery.
  12. Ducti89

    Ducti89 Ticketing Melka’s dirtbike.....

    Your doc said leave them in because you like to take your SV through ponds and you lost an MMA fight to a tree in your back yard. Remember?:D
  13. damiankelly

    damiankelly Well-Known Member

    Ahhh that’s right.. your the man!
  14. Jedb

    Jedb Professional Novice :-)

    I crashed in 2009 and had the plate put in. 4 fragments, 1" separated between the two primary pieces. I raced from then until I stopped in 2017.
    Crashed multiple times (PIR and The Ridge) on both sides and never had a worry.

    If you crash and it breaks, it will most likely be at the ends of the plate.
    They'll remove the old one, and give you a longer one or a new one to cover the break area.
  15. tophyr

    tophyr Parkour Champion

    Interesting to hear about the nonchalance re: re-breaks. That's my sole concern - neither plate hurts or bothers me in any way. I just don't want a loose screw or torn plate to be sloshing around near my carotid or lungs.

    I've got a consult next Tues with a local ortho, will ask him about all of this. Sounds like I'm likely keeping them in, however, which would certainly make life easier :)
  16. jrsamples

    jrsamples Banned

    I'd say that it is just a shot in the dark as to whether the piece will make any positive or negative difference in your next crash. I'd say leave it if it's not a problem because there is no way to know that it could be a problem. Mine is aggravating all of the time, especially if someone puts their hand on my shoulder. I don't wear a seat belt for that reason. Meh. I asked my insurance company if an extraction would be covered and they laughed and just hung up. IIRC it was $40k going in and it would probably be $20k coming out? I'm stuck with mine.
  17. Fuzzy317

    Fuzzy317 a Crash Truck near you

    When my plates were installed, the first doctor (a sports type doctor) said it could be removed. 2-3 years later, they are still in place and there is currently no plan to remove them.
  18. JCW

    JCW Well-Known Member

    I think about getting mine removed. Taking them out is a straightforward procedure, way easier than putting it in.
    Yeah, the nerve probably needs to be recut but the nerve's f'd up already that's why the area is numb. You would have to wait for the holes to heal again.

    My guess on why ortho doesn't do it is because it's not worth their time... insurance either doesn't pay or doesn't pay enough to make their Porsche payments.

    My clavicle was repaired crooked so my plate and screws are pretty visible on the skin. Because of this and the numbness, I've had straps rub through the skin when wearing a light backpack while running for 10 miles.
  19. tophyr

    tophyr Parkour Champion

    well stop doing that dummy
    noles19 likes this.
  20. Captain Morgan

    Captain Morgan Well-Known Member

    Posted my x rays on here a year ago and had a lot of different opinions to do surgery or not being in Mexico at the time of the break, flying back to FL seeing a professional doctor and a specialist, then taking a month vacation in Brazil and saw a friends orthopedic surgeon. Never did surgery or plates and everything works fine. But not a top elite athlete that needs to get back on the horse for work

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