With One-Sided Clavicle Reduction How Long Would I Not Be Able To Use My Arm?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I am scheduled to have  a unilateral clavicle reduction but wanted to first understand the recovery process in more depth. I live in Montana and needed to understand the travel aspects (how long I need to be in Indianapolis), how long I will be unable to use my arm for computer office work, and whether I can manage on my own post-op since this would be a unilateral procedure. Any other pertinent info would be helpful, too.

A: In answer to your logistical surgery questions:

1) Having one good arm, which is unlike every clavicle reduction procedure I have done to date, allows for numerous advantages doing the recovery period one of which allows for a more rapid return home. Assuming you are coming by yourself you should be able to return home in 2 to 3 days after the surgery.

2) The key to the first few weeks after surgery is to keep the elbow of the affected arm near your side. While I have never used postoperative slings/garments after clavicle reductions due to their bilateral nature, you would represent the exception in which it is probably of benefit. Think of your one arm in a sling (not when showering) when determining how activities will be affected in the first few weeks after the surgery.

3) As a unilateral procedure you should be able to handle the immediate after care given that many bilateral patients do…albeit with more difficulty and requiring some nursing support.

Dr. Barry Eppley

World Renowned Plastic Surgeon