Collarbone Replacement?

Posted , 4 users are following.

Hi! I'm 34 years young but my body is aging faster than I am. In 2007 I separated my shoulder joint while at work. It wasn't diagnosed until 2013 when I finally got a dr who listened to me. I did PT and also had surgery that year. Surgery also cleaned up my partially torn rotator cuff and got my bone spur that was fraying a ligament out. Last year (a year after surgery) I started having issues again. My dr wanted to throw me into PT as well as ortho but I refused because I'm so over PT after spending 6-9 months before & after that surgery. I just found out that nearly half of my collarbone was removed to repair that joint separation and because my shoulder/joint is lacking support the muscles over my scapula are basically permanently strained. PT would've been a waste of time. I can do range of motion exercises & meds. I need to check into NSAID's because I have stage III kidney disease so I'm supposed to limit my NSAID use. Right now I have to go in 1-2 times per month for Toradol to treat migraines. We think the kidney disease is because prior to being diagnosed with my separated shoulder in 2013 and until surgery I was taking 800mg of Advil 3x/day (max dose). At one point I won't be able to lift my elbow to my shoulder. Once that happens I can get steroid injections. As it is, I can't lift my arm above my head for more than 1-2 minutes without extreme pain. I suspect the steroid injections could be in my near future. So...can that collarbone be replaced? Do I have any surgical options or any options? Or are these really it?

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  • Posted

    I wanted to say that I truly feel your pain. I'm in nearly an identical situation as you. 

    Your surgeon performed what's called a Weaver-Dunn procedure on you. It's where they remove a portion of your collarbone and usually use heavy duty sutures to string through it, and attach to your coracoid process (a bone that grows from the anterior side of your shoulder blade), all to hold the collarbone down from popping up. I can't believe that your surgeon didn't tell you what he was doing to you!!! Awful! I know all of this because I also had this same procedure done on me recently. (End of September). Well, one thing MY surgeon didn't tell me was the unbelievably HIGH failure rate. Almost 40%!!! And guess what? Mine FAILED a week ago. So I am now sitting here with a BADLY broken collarbone and zero options, according to my surgeon who I am not happy with. He's trying to tell me that he has to "treat it conservatively" - meaning let it heal as it is. No. I will NOT accept that. 

    So I stumbled upon your post while Googling options to rebuild my collarbone. I had a metal plate at first,  it discovered the hard way that my body is highly allergic to the metal and darn near killed me. So I can't have a traditional plate put on it. I've read that they make both ceramic and plastic ones, so I'm hoping I can get enough research done and propose it to him. Because being told that "for the next 4-6 weeks you're going to have to hurt" is totally unacceptable! This pain is excruciating.

    Best of luck to you and please update when you find a solution. I'll do the same.  


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    • Posted

      Hi jrodi!

      I truly hope you're feeling better & made more progress than I have

      I'm under the care of a new orthopedist now and have gotten farther than I did with the last. He refused to do imaging because when I saw him I had great range of motion. Most often I do but on a bad day there's none. I also started getting a sharp pain about once a month where I couldn't move my arm at all but it only lasted hours.

      Anyway, this guy does x-rays every 6 months regardless if they're needed. He didn't want to jump to cortisone because I'm "young." Working together he thought I had a torn labrum (I think...but torn something other than rotator cuff) and eventually did a MRI with contrast. The good news - nothing was torn & the contrast (having filled the joint space) gave me relief for a short period of time. The bad news - I now have rotator cuff tendinitis. The relief was short lived and cortisone came up but he was hesitant since my history of the relief being short term & it could rupture the rotator tendon putting me in a sling for several weeks. At that point he had me consult with the orthopedic surgeon. This is where things got worse. He explained to me that the repair for rotator cuffs only work for 75% of people (as you stated) and I'm in the 25% it doesn't provide relief for. Supposedly people like me learn to live with it. He did the cortisone (which I can't do more than 2x/year) which caused nasty inflammation for a week and a half before giving me a short period of relief. I haven't asked what happens when the cortisone fails because the surgeon said until my rotator cuff gets torn again there's nothing to do surgically.

      I'm now able to tolerate a daily NSAID at a low dose but I still need daily pain medication as well. Because I build a tolerance to meds I'm likely going to need more soon. I still have good days but they're far & few between. I don't want to be a pill junkie but I suspect that's what I'm going to be told I need to do. This issue triggers migraines and the pain meds also trigger them. I spend so many days with the migraines that I'm now a candidate for Botox. ??

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  • Posted

    hi Mrs Houston, did u find any solution for ur issue, is there any way out for collor bone replacement,, i m from india having a similar situation here no doc is able to help me.....
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    • Posted

      Hi kuldeep!

      Unfortunately I haven't figured anything out. I've since learned rotator cuff surgery only provides relief to 75% of people and I'm one of the 25% it doesn't help. And I now have rotator cuff tendinitis. I hope you find some relief!

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  • Posted

    I have Torn rot.cuff torn labrum, impingment.torn at bicep, collarbone and a bone spur..I have surgery in 3 2818th surgery..they plan to remove part of my collarbone..this post has me extremely nervous..any advice? How was your pain right after surgery? I'm currently on a lot of pain meds..including morphine and Percocet..I'm still in pain..its been 8 months since my injury

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    • Posted

      Hi Katherine!

      Hopefully you've been told that the surgery for rotator cuff tears can fail to provide relief. I truly hope you're one of the 75% who gets relief from the procedure. Given how many surgeries you've had I suspect you know to set an alarm to take the meds as often as possible without harming yourself. PT helps even though you'll need a lot. I had to have someone wash my hair for me because I wasn't allowed to lift my arms up for months so I had shorter hair. Needing help to shower was a burden. Not being able to lift your arms above your head make sure anything you need access to is low enough. I'm also sure you know not to push yourself. If I do need another surgery, I don't have much collarbone left to clean up because of how much they took so perhaps ask they don't take even 1mm more than needed.

      And always, always, listen to your instinct and advocate for yourself if there's any issues after your recovery period. It took me awhile to find a dr who would do the MRI and now we have more answers, just nothing we can do.

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