Which structures in the anatomy of the clavicle may be injured with a fracture?

Updated: Jan 14, 2019
  • Author: Benjamin P Kleinhenz, MD; Chief Editor: Craig C Young, MD  more...
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Answer

Many other important structures are in extremely close contact with the clavicle and are thus subject to injury in the context of clavicle fractures. The subclavian artery (which becomes the axillary artery as it passes anteriorly to the first rib) and vein are both in close proximity to the middle portion of the clavicle. Additionally, the brachial plexus also passes behind the clavicle posterolateral to the subclavian vessels and is at risk with displaced fractures of the middle clavicle.

The subclavius muscle lies between the clavicle and these neurovascular structures, and, though small, it is believed to prevent more frequent damage to these structures. Reports also exist of injuries to the apices of the lung, most commonly with displaced middle third clavicle fractures.


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