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  1. #1
    Brentster
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    Collarbone plate removal

    After 7 months, I'm getting my collarbone plate removed next week probably. I ride 150 miles a week and don't want to crash on it. Plus, it just plain bothers me.

    The doc said that I'll need to stay off the bike for 6 weeks while the holes fill in because the bone will be in a weakened state.

    Has everyone else had to wait that long? I already missed out on 3 months with the first recovery and I don't even want to suffer being off the bike for 6 days!!

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Wait the full six weeks. Your clavicle will resemble swiss cheese until those holes fill in. Nothing would piss you off more than to do something stupid and refracture it because you didn't wait long enough. Sucks... I know.
    I assume some of those 150 miles are roady miles? Stick with that for the 6 weeks. Way better than not riding at all. I'm 7 weeks into mine since having the plate installed and since I still can't MTB I've been doing some roady riding. Never have I loved my road bike more.

  3. #3
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    Did you get the plate out? Ask the doc if he/she will fill the screw holes with some cancellous bone chips to help them fill faster. And be careful, the bone will fracture like a zipper opening with those holes all lined up.

  4. #4
    Brentster
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    Quote Originally Posted by drdoak
    Did you get the plate out? Ask the doc if he/she will fill the screw holes with some cancellous bone chips to help them fill faster. And be careful, the bone will fracture like a zipper opening with those holes all lined up.
    I was supposed to have it done next Friday, which would have been nice with the Holiday to recuperate, but it got pushed back a week due to something coming up with the surgeon.

    I'll ask about the bone chips and thanks for the heads up.

  5. #5
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    Let me know how this turns out. I just had a plate put in two weeks ago and I would like to know what my options are. Thanks

  6. #6
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    Yeah Brentster, keep us posted. I've had my plate in for a couple years now and would like to get it removed. My ortho surgeon said that I shouldn't bother but the idea of an other crash sending that plate through my neck freaks me out. Plus I've accidentally wacked it on a door frame before and damn it hurts.

  7. #7
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    I had my plate out over 6 months ago. I crashed Sunday before last, (front washed out, not even very fast) and I broke it again along the holes left by the screws!
    Those bone chips sound like they would've been a good idea.
    The break is straight across and the bone's lined up so with a bit of luck 6 weeks in a sling will do it.

  8. #8
    Brentster
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    I just got back from my follow up appointment 5 minutes ago and I never have to see the doc again!!!!! (hopefully). The removal last Friday was a breeze. They put me under for 15 minutes and I was back home by 10:15 am. The doc said that the chips / bone paste would have tripled his fee and is generally used on weight bearing places. For instance, if he removed a plate from someone's hip, the holes would collapse after the person took their first step.

    I've been riding my bike around the neighborhood since the day after the procedure and will be ramping it back up over the next few weeks. He said that a crash within 6 weeks would not be good.

    Qwertzy, I'm so sorry about your bad luck and hope you get well soon.

  9. #9
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    qwertzy- So was there still holes in your clav. 6 months later or were they filled in? Can you tell from the Xray? Hope you heal up fast and permanently.

  10. #10
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    Thanks, Yeah the holes were still really visible on the x-ray and caused the break (aside from my questionable cornering technique )
    The surgeon did say they wouldn't fill in completely for a year and to take it easy for the first six months, which I did but it broke again sooo easily it was frightening.
    There goes the end of the season and the beginning of track season too .
    Brentster, That's an incredible recovery! I was in hospital over night and not riding at all for three months. Maybe I'm getting old

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by 09Reign
    Yeah Brentster, keep us posted. I've had my plate in for a couple years now and would like to get it removed. My ortho surgeon said that I shouldn't bother but the idea of an other crash sending that plate through my neck freaks me out. Plus I've accidentally wacked it on a door frame before and damn it hurts.
    and I tought that this is only my nightmare... I have my plate in two years, my doc said same "do not bother" to me, but there is still this what if in my head. This suck, remove it or leave it? Is my bone weaker with all those screws in it? and yes it hurts like s%&t if you hit it right Thanks for sharing guys! Rob

  12. #12
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    My doc waited 8 months before doing surgery. Now according to him there in for life, he told me (and have researched as well) that one they rebreak easy and 2nd sometimes fall apart upon removal of the plate and screws. So I'm fine with living with mine, I dont wanna miss any riding again for this injury. 3 months after surgery I'm slowly getting back into riding dh/fr again. I've missed the bike and the trails. Good luck
    How's that dirt taste?

  13. #13
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    DONT GET IT REMOVED!!!! Unless the pain is unbearable and you can wait 40 weeks for it to heal. My Dr. said a full year! I just had the plate taken out my arm. Now I totally regret it. I have to live like a cripple. Read:
    http://www.ejbjs.org/cgi/content/abstract/66/8/1241

  14. #14
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    Cost

    Quote Originally Posted by Brentster
    I just got back from my follow up appointment 5 minutes ago and I never have to see the doc again!!!!! (hopefully). The removal last Friday was a breeze. They put me under for 15 minutes and I was back home by 10:15 am. The doc said that the chips / bone paste would have tripled his fee and is generally used on weight bearing places. For instance, if he removed a plate from someone's hip, the holes would collapse after the person took their first step.

    I've been riding my bike around the neighborhood since the day after the procedure and will be ramping it back up over the next few weeks. He said that a crash within 6 weeks would not be good.

    Qwertzy, I'm so sorry about your bad luck and hope you get well soon.
    I work as as a surgical nurse for twenty years.The Dr.cant bill any more for using synthesis bone paste.....It takes a whole two minutes to use.Your insurance pays for the Bone paste.Unless he is a partner at a surgery center he works at that are looking into the cost of his surgery.Some insurance have a set cost for each case and that cost cuts into his partnership with the surgery center.
    My oem parts 14 screws 3 plates and two hip replacement.I hope that's enough upgrades.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by cstone
    DONT GET IT REMOVED!!!! Unless the pain is unbearable and you can wait 40 weeks for it to heal. My Dr. said a full year! I just had the plate taken out my arm. Now I totally regret it. I have to live like a cripple. Read:
    http://www.ejbjs.org/cgi/content/abstract/66/8/1241
    Sometimes in surgery Hardware Removal look more painful than the Initial fixation.The doctor seems more in a hurry, usually doesn't ask for x-ray at the start.Then makes a mess of things until he gives in and orders x-ray.
    My oem parts 14 screws 3 plates and two hip replacement.I hope that's enough upgrades.

  16. #16
    Brentster
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    Quote Originally Posted by spongstick
    I work as as a surgical nurse for twenty years.The Dr.cant bill any more for using synthesis bone paste.....It takes a whole two minutes to use.Your insurance pays for the Bone paste.Unless he is a partner at a surgery center he works at that are looking into the cost of his surgery.Some insurance have a set cost for each case and that cost cuts into his partnership with the surgery center.
    Well it did happen to be at a surgical center. Not sure if he's a partner. He did fabulous work and I highly recommend the removal of the plate. The surface area is still a bit sore, but I'm looking forward to driving without slouching to my right, because of the seatbelt, for the first time in 10 months.

  17. #17
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    In some ways its nice to have it out. But it seems like you have to wait a good 6 months unless you want to risk a rebreak. For the bone to heal, yes it takes 6 weeks but that bone is WEAK. If a lot of bone is new, it takes many months for hard bone to develop through remodeling. Seems like it safer to keep a plate in if a bone was shattered and a lot had to heal. The dr. said it takes a full year from the initial surgery for that one to heal, and then you have to wait for the holes to heal well again after the plate is removed.

  18. #18
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    Hmm. Discouraging but thanks for the info.

  19. #19
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    If you think you might fall again get it removed. If you have trauma to the bone with teh plate it will either A) splinter along where the screws are or B) snap at on or both ends of the plate

    IMO, many docs are way to quick to install hardware. Unless you are a professional athlete you really should wait for the body to mend itself if possile. A collarbone break, even severe is a six to eight week recovery. I have broken mine on both sides in different accidents. The R side was shattered (I road race motorcycles) and a pc about 50mm long was "punched" out when the helmet met the bone (helmet always wins and this is not a rare injury)

    When I saw the pics I "told" my doc "There is no effen way that sh#t's going to heal on it's own.. look how large the displacement is, please plate it." He absolutely refused, explaining that we could always slice and drill later and said I really needed to have more faith in my bodies ability to take care of itself. He also warned that the collarbone surgery carries a pretty high infection risk and I don;t have to tell you what nasty crap lives in hostpitals.

    Both of my breaks (the simple and shattered) healed completely and I'm golden. What did take a long time to heal was the soft tissue damage on the second one. there was a lot of collateral damage.

    Good luck!

  20. #20
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    Just broke my clavicle 9-22. A "simple" fracture at the distal (shoulder) tip. Agreed to let it try to heal without surgery. Can always do add some titanium later if necessary. My doc stated that unless their was a medical necessity, the plate would a permanent addition. My only concern with forgoing the surgery is keeping the bone in a relatively stable position with only a sling. Doc says it should be fine in 12 weeks; the average for collar bones. The clavicle is purportedly one of the slower healing bones.

    Hopefully everything will be back to normal come springtime.

  21. #21
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    Shattered my right collar bone in mid June last summer, had a plate and some 6 screws put in, and it kept me off the bike for a good 6 weeks, with another two months till the shoulder would hold up to some decent trails.

    Surgeon mentioned that I'd be good to remove the plate 10-14 months after surgery, however suggested that I left it in place, unless I have issues with it. Obviously, I'm also worried about it going straight up my brain in the case of another crash of the same calibre, whilst having the holes heal up will be a bother.

    As someone previously mentioned in this thread, I've had the plate smacked a couple of times as well, and good lord that hurts. I also cannot wear a backpack, with the weight pressuring the plate. Camelback's fine, so far, though the shoulder gets all sore after riding any long distances with it, dunno what that's all about.

    Another of my reasons for removing it would be the nerve damage that's going on in that area, something pretty messed up, feeling touch to the clavicle down towards the arm and chest area as well (and other way around), has anyone experienced this?

    yours-
    J. Cressell

    edit; Noticed something else in the previous posts, the matter of another hit to it whilst the plate is still in, is that certain to cause more severe damage than without the plate?

  22. #22
    Gravity addict
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    There is a lot of different opinions out there but keep in mind everyone is different and can tolerate pain better than others.
    Last Oct I took a hard hit, dislocated my shoulder, knocked myself out and of course broke my collarbone into 3 pieces.
    The Doc told me I'd heal within 4-6 weeks as everyone else has with a broken collarbone has been told. 12 weeks later the doc said I was OK to go back to work on light duty. Barely 8 weeks later it re-broke. The Doc then put me back on disability leave and had me purchase an EXOGEN bone stimulator. It worked but not well enough 32 weeks later with a huge non-union he did surgery (plate with 7 screws) He said he'd never seen so much scar tissue before that never did anything, the surgery went well and felt lucky to say I only took a total of 8 pain pills during recovery because I wasn't in that much pain. 9 weeks later I had to return to work since my disability was going to run out and I could lose my job ( during those 9 weeks of recovery I felt so good and confident that I purchased another bike- but did not ride though ) Now going on 12 weeks back at work I'm starting to have un usual pain in the far end of the clavicle/ shoulder. I do not have a clue what up with it and I have 2 weeks till my last check up with the Doc for a full release to ride and do what ever. It could be the weather, nerves that had re grown from surgery (been numb mostly) or worse the clavicle has started to crack where the screws are, I won't really know till the 18th.
    I do know the doctors have never checked if I tore anything in my shoulder from my crash, and most of my pain now comes from lifting even 5lbs, and just lifting my own arm after 10hrs of work I am so ready to be riding again and working with no restrictions. I guess the worse part of my situation is that if he discovers something has happened on the 18th and I need to go on leave from work again that it may cause me to lose my job!
    The Doc has told me my plate and screws are in for life...so I have never been given the option to remove them. Sorry that this is a long story but wanted to share my journey with you.
    I have also heard on other threads the reason for surgery being a last resort is to keep the doctors on the preffered list of health care providers with insurance companies when they do not do expensive surgeries all the time.
    I have myself sensitivity to touch around the clavicle, and I am also a walking weather man as well because of the plate/screws. And at times when my radio signal sucks I can lift my arm and get a better signal LOL.
    How's that dirt taste?

  23. #23
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    Sorry to hear that you had such issues!

    In the event of my crash, the bone ended up in 4 pieces + some 'debris', however I'm a fast healer, and despite being told it'd be 10-14 months before I'd be back riding as if it never happened, I currently feel that my shoulder, after 6 months, is as good as ever. That said, I had some issues when the cold weather came walking in, and it sores easily, not having the same endurance as my left one. Other than that, no issues at all, at least none worth mentioning.

    So figure I'll leave the plate in place unless I do get some issues with it at a later stage!

  24. #24
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    plate removal rash

    hi i had a plate and screws used for my collarbone break 7 mos ago. i have a worsening rash in the area and am wondering if i may be allergic to the metal. has anyone experienced this symptom? should i have the plate removed?

  25. #25
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    my plate is permanent. i don't plan to have it removed unless my body starts rejecting it. since it runs the entire length of my collarbone and covers it completely (i realize not everyone ends up with this kind of plate), i quite like not having to worry about one of them thanks to its bionic nature.

    judy d....yeah, i would see your doc. there's a possibility your body is rejecting it, and you'll want to get that looked at sooner rather than later if that's the case. i've seen some gnarly "worst case scenario" photos of people who didn't seem to think it was important until the thing erupted.

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