How Much Shoulder Width Can Be Obtained with Clavicle Lengthening?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I read on one of your forums that 3.5 cms on each clavicle is possible through lengthening… I would be very interested in that! I’m narrow to the point where I have poor range of motion and my shoulders rest rolled over, which keeps me slumped (back training never fully helped) I’d be willing to put in the extra effort with after care/ therapy if this is possible!

I read an article entitled  ‘Congenital Forward Shoulder With Clavicle Hypoplasia: Surgical Lengthening By Intercalary Graft Positioning And Plate Fixation.’ I haven’t been diagnosed but this article seems relates to my issue. 

A: Lengthening the clavicle for shoulder widening can be done. It is the converse of shoulder width reduction by clavicular bone resection. The differences are that a bone graft needs to be placed as well as longer plate fixation. The critical question is how long the bone graft can be to still support eventual full bony healing. I don’t think enough cases have ever been done to answer that question accurately. Thus I prefer at this time to limit the bone graft length to 2.5cms which results in an inch of shoulder width increase per side. Because of the unique shape of the clavicle lengthening it causes the shoulder to roll outward a bit.  

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana