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Old 08-13-2014, 06:47 PM   #1
dolomoto OP
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Clavicle, still broken (malunion) after 9 years...

'Twas a sunny day in June, 2005. I was headed to a campout with my club at Willville Bike Camp. My (then) 10yo daughter was a pax on my 2001 Suzuki Bandit 1200s.





I am now, and was then, an experienced moto camper and packer. Most everything was in a bag that was secured to some other thing....except for a Wiggy's sleeping back in a compression sack, strapped to the right side Roadgear Jumbo Sport saddlebag.

We lived in a beautiful place right on the Blue Ridge Parkway around mm 140 (Floyd County, Va).

[IMG]View down 100' long front porch by copperhillhouseforsale, on Flickr[/IMG]

[IMG]Front w/ wildflowers by copperhillhouseforsale, on Flickr[/IMG]

The road leading right out to the BRP was a bit muddy and, although it was not the first ride with my daughter, I took the main road down a few miles and entered the BRP at the nearest exit. Just as we passed in front of our house (and entering a passing zone), we encountered a few cars stuck behind a bluehair doing around 30mph in a 45. We passed briskly at around 70mph. Just as we got back into our lane, the Wiggy's bag erupted from it's stuff sack (tied down by 2 bungees) and proceeded to wrap itself around the rear tire.



I did not know this, of course. I only knew that we were skidding. I kept it up for around 110' (as we later measured) before we highsided. Ground-sky-ground-sky-ground-sky, etc. I landed head first (pile driver) where the bottom edge of my Arai helmet broke my left clavicle. My daughter landed on me which separated the shoulder.



We were wearing full gear, body armor, FF helmets, etc. My daughter had only a broken arm (no road rash). I had just a quarter sized bit of rash thru my 'stich but my injuries made for an ambulance ride...

blah, blah, blah (ambulance crew got lost, then lost control of my stretcher, then I got kicked out of the hospital for being "unruly").

Saw an orthopedist. He recommended no treatment and to let it heal in place. Here it was 5 years after the injury:



Although it looks mostly healed (was 1.5" displacement and non-union for 6 months), it is not. It is only "granular tissue" bridging the joint and the damn thing hurts all the time.

So, this last MRI confirms the "malunion" and I've got a second consult with another "leading" Orthopedic surgeon next week.

I'm quite hesitant to get it operated on, especially since the bone graft will come from my pelvis. and there is about a 5% chance of serious infection. I've never spent a night in a hospital.

Two weeks ago, I was diagnosed with Scoliosis which the Ortho and Chiro doctors surmised was likely caused by my bodies reaction to the decreased mobility and strength of the broken clavicle. I was under a Chiropractors care from 2002-2005 and I did not have Scoliosis then.

So, the "million dollar question" is: Have you had surgery on such a lingering injury? If so, what were the results?
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Old 08-13-2014, 08:05 PM   #2
NJ-Brett
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I broke a bunch of stuff a few years ago in a dirt crash, clavicle and scapula among them, and had a big offset like you had, and just let it heal.
It hurts a bit all the time, sometimes it hurts more.

Initially it felt quite good after it healed, but using it a lot seemed to cause some problems with the tendons or whatever is in there.
With that much offset, things no longer line up like they are supposed to.

Surgery is always a risk, maybe talk with some experts.
This long with you still having issues is not right and I would think it needs to be fixed...
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Old 08-13-2014, 11:44 PM   #3
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I broke my ankle several years ago in a dirt bike crash, but thought it was a bad sprain. long story short, two years after the crash I was still sore and went to the docs, and was sent to a specialist surgeon. We discussed the risks, and I eventually agreed that surgery was the way to go. I had a minor infection in one of the two ports he cut into my ankle that dragged out the healing process and required a bit more cutting away of skin and extra stitches, but ultimately I have regained almost full use of my ankle with no lingering pain.

I think the moral of the story is, there is a risk surgery will make it worse (infection, bad reaction etc) but it is likely a small risk. There is a risk the surgery will not have much effect one way or the other. It is also likely a small risk. If you get lucky, everything will go well and you will be back to 100% again (and I bet you have forgotten how good that feels by now!).

Only you can make the desicion if it is worth it for you, but I would say your best bet is talk to a few different specialists and get as good an understanding as possible before making that desicion. Good luck!
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Old 08-16-2014, 04:12 AM   #4
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In 2006, I had a big crash with my 950 and broke a rack of ribs, scapula, and my left collarbone...........again. Had a giant bump in the collarbone, which I'm sure would look just like yours in an MRI. Didn't hurt at all, just looked like a circus freak. Doing anything was not an issue at all, and pushing/pulling on it, it seemed strong as the other side.
Fast forward to April 2014.......I get flicked off my 525 EXC going down a steep hill, knocked cold, wake up and loudly exclaim..................."FUCK! I broke my fucking collarbone."
Yup, left one again. Tuesday I go to the sawbones, he takes pics and I see's 'em, and I'm like....:e ek1 There's a gap I could drive my Jeep through. He tells me it's an old break that never healed. I tell him, "dude, that thing seemed as solid as the other one, would the hell could it have been a non-union??" He sends me to a shoulder specialist.
That guy says don't worry about it. HUH? He say's I'm better off NOT putting hardware in, and to let it heal on it's own. I didn't go back in May for the follow-up pics (guess I really should), but now I got an even bigger lump. The good news is, it doesn't hurt at all. I've been in the dirt wearing my Leatt a couple of times, and feels OK.
But, I'm pretty sure I'm in the same boat as your (minus the pain), as far as a non-union thing goes. I'm a bit concerned that it ain't gonna take much of a crash for another SNAPPOLA of the collarbone again.
Oh well. *sigh*
Good luck with yours though!
Chris
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Old 08-16-2014, 08:04 AM   #5
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It is your call but, the autogenous bone graft saves on getting "bone" from some dude. A dead one no less.
I had the self-graft in '02 for a neck fusion. Loose pants or adjusting the belt height was needed for a couple/few weeks. Other than that, minimal pain there.
The trade to be run is balancing what pain you have most/all/whatever the time now against more pain for a short time before all is well.
On the infection side, asking for massive doses of Vit C is said to help with healing and infection.
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Old 08-18-2014, 08:47 AM   #6
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have a buddy who snapped his left clavicle some years back, while mtn biking (endo). It wouldn't heal either. His MD ended up getting a medical device that stimulated bone growth/regrowth. I was in the medical supply biz, so I ended up getting it for him. Can't remember exactly how it worked, or what the theory behind its claimed benefits was. He used it for several months, and I recall the two bones eventually began to fuse back together. The other option was going to be a re-break and surgery.
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Old 08-18-2014, 06:08 PM   #7
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I broke my collar bone a year ago. Had it repaired with a plate and screws. Was glad I did. I remember waking up in the ER and feeling like my whole back was "straight" again. Plus, there's no Wierd bumps on my collar bone.
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Old 08-18-2014, 08:31 PM   #8
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I broke my collar bone when I was T-boned on my GSA 5 years ago... there is a thread around here somewhere on it. Anyway, Doc cleared me hot to start playing golf again too soon and as a result, a non-union clavicle. I have seen several Orthos since then and every one of them has said "only fix it if it is bothering you." More specifically, that the bone graft is way more painful than the original injury ever was. So mine stays happily broken to this day.
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Old 08-19-2014, 05:33 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lomez View Post
have a buddy who snapped his left clavicle some years back, while mtn biking (endo). It wouldn't heal either. His MD ended up getting a medical device that stimulated bone growth/regrowth. I was in the medical supply biz, so I ended up getting it for him. Can't remember exactly how it worked, or what the theory behind its claimed benefits was. He used it for several months, and I recall the two bones eventually began to fuse back together. The other option was going to be a re-break and surgery.
I had a device called an ultrasonic bone stimulator to help with a non union metatarsal (foot) break. Theoretically, the device emits ultrasonic pulses into the fracture and promotes bone growth. Its non invasive-sits on top of the skin held in place by a harness. It worked well for me, and as I had to purchase the thing, I loaned it to a friend who suffered a stress fracture in his foot much like mine. He used it to quickly heal so he could run a marathon. While he had it, his wife broke her clavicle. They got a harness for it that allowed it to be used on her fracture. Both said it reduced their "down" time by half or better.

All anecdotal and non scientific evidence, but to me the little device is three for three.
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Old 09-03-2014, 10:44 PM   #10
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I broke mine (the first time) close to the shoulder joint so it stuck up and healed in a non-union. I opted to have surgery for repair. They sawed the ends off and grafted from a pelvic donation, put in a plate and screws. Six months later I had the hardware removed.

My experience? I was in my late 40's FWIW. I went in early in the morning and home when awake, no overnight in the hospital. The donor site on my pelvis hurt but so did my shoulder. The meds took care of that and a few days later I was back at work. For a good five years it hurt, especially if I slept on the ground, but it hurt every night. I took NSAIDS (anti-inflammatory meds, basically prescription strength Aleve) and if bad, Ultram. (I was able to ride on this.) About the time I was ready to throw in the towel and seek advice for surgery it stopped hurting and now it's pretty much completely healed. At least it hurts less, and less frequently. Maybe breaking it the second time fixed it.
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Old 09-03-2014, 11:35 PM   #11
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It baffles me how many times doctors say "Just let it heal on it's own"

My daughter has been racing BMX since she was six years old....we attend at least 8 National events a year, and broken collarbones are commonplace......when you can visually see the break under the skin (as YOURS was) and the Doctor says "Let it heal on it's own", a 2nd opinion has always suggested surgery....of course, I don't know of anybody who waited so long to get it fixed right.

Hope they are able to fix you up.....

How long did it take the daughter to get back on the bike?
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Old 09-04-2014, 09:42 PM   #12
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Fwiw at 53 I just broke my clavicle. It was non union, .after reviewing the options I decided to let it healing its own. Sling for 3 weeks , light duty at work a total of 5. At 6 weeks now if I jar it i can feel it , but am riding and working back to normal.
As he MD said , surgery quickens recovery , but with my active lifestyle if you break it with the pins and sleeve your going to devastate what's left in there . 2 surgerys did not seem appealing
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Old 09-05-2014, 08:13 PM   #13
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Update: After two consults...this second one with the "top surgeon in the region", I've decided on no surgery.

He explained that even though it is malunion, it is stable and cannot be manipulated with hand pressure. Other than chronic, low level pain, I have no other complaints.

Surgery may be wildly successful with a full union...or, it may result in a permanent non-union..or worse, infection at both sites (since the bone graft will come from the pelvis).

(sigh)

I reckon these aches will just be part of the admission price of this game we all play.

I do not regret my initial decision on no surgery. On the advice of my chiropractor, I will work on back/core strengthening to reverse the scoliosis (my gym has both a VersaClimber and a Jacob's Ladder).

Thanks for all the comments and anecdotes, there is lots of wisdom in these pages.

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Old 09-06-2014, 02:39 AM   #14
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Well I'm not a doctor but I see no non-union there or whatever, I see a knotted and perhaps stronger weld but what came out of your mouth? perhaps explain further to me/us
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Old 09-06-2014, 02:43 AM   #15
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oof, I read again.. I was there once and have a story too of course.. I wish you the best.
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