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How to manage collar bone ligament tear?

Thursday, 03 April 2003
Answered by: Mathew Varghese
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon and Director
St. Stephens Hospital
Delhi
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Q. I am 26 years. Recently I met with an accident and got collar bone ligament tear. Will that be a problem? I have not got surgery done as my doctor said there was no need for it but I still feel that it might be a problem in future. Can you please advise.

A.  I am not sure which ligament of the collar bone you are writing about. But usually there is a ligament on the outer side of the collar bone that gets torn and often needs surgical intervention. This ligament is part of a joint called the acromio-clavicular joint (sorry, this is a tongue twister). The surgical intervention is based on the degree of rupture of ligament (grade 1, 2 or 3) with surgery being considered for grade 2 & 3 depending on the age and the level of activity of the patient. You are a young patient and if you are active, with the displacement of the joint approximately equal to the width of your collarbone, then surgery is an option. If you do not get operated, then the outer end of the collarbone tends to stick out and you have problem doing heavy manual work with your arm. However, if your demands are low you may manage your day-to-day activities quite comfortably except for the cosmetic part.

A.  I am not sure which ligament of the collar bone you are writing about. But usually there is a ligament on the outer side of the collar bone that gets torn and often needs surgical intervention. This ligament is part of a joint called the acromio-clavicular joint (sorry, this is a tongue twister). The surgical intervention is based on the degree of rupture of ligament (grade 1, 2 or 3) with surgery being considered for grade 2 & 3 depending on the age and the level of activity of the patient. You are a young patient and if you are active, with the displacement of the joint approximately equal to the width of your collarbone, then surgery is an option. If you do not get operated, then the outer end of the collarbone tends to stick out and you have problem doing heavy manual work with your arm. However, if your demands are low you may manage your day-to-day activities quite comfortably except for the cosmetic part.

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