How Long Does It Take Clavicle Lengthening (Shoulder Widening) To Heal?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I have a question about your clavicle lengthening procedure. I would like to know how long it takes for both clavicles to heal after the procedure and if it is possible to operate both clavicles at the same time or do you need to treat one clavicle at a time? Thank you.

A: Unlike clavicle reduction osteotomies where direct end to end viable bone is put back together, clavicle lengthening requiring an interpositional bone graft. This requires 2X the healing time for bone to grow through the graft which is 3 months instead of 6 weeks.

Your question is an interesting one in that should one or both clavicles be operated on at the same time. While recovery is certainly lengthened by bilateral surgery, having to harvest a fibular bone graft provides an argument to do both shoulders at the same time.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana