Clavicle Hardware REMOVAL PART 3: CollarBone Fracture – removing the surgical Implants

Finally, the post we have all been waiting for! a blog on collarbone fracture clavicle hardware removal!

On April 11th, I went back to the surgery center to have the surgeon remove the plate and screws holding my clavicle in place while the broken boned healed.  Since making the choice to surgically repair my broken clavicle last June, I have been plagued by stiffness and discomfort in my shoulder from what I call the “Metal Bug.”

My first thought when the nurse was sticking me with needle #1  on Wednesday was maybe another surgery was another bad decision. In fact, as the nurse said “Remember you don’t have to do this and you can stop the procedure at any time,” I almost jumped out of the chair thinking “You know what, you are right, I don’t have to do this and I am going home.”  Surgery has risks, and as the anesthesiologist warmed up his needles for a nerve block, I was all too conscious of stories when surgery goes wrong.

Despite my misgivings, I held my breath, and no sooner could I have another negative thought, then a warm flow enveloped me, I breathed into a mask, and I was gone. The next thing I knew, I awoke in the recovery room.  And then, within an hour, I was on my way home with the hardware in hand that was only recently clinched atop my clavicle – the miracle of modern medicine.

collarbone fracture clavicle hardware removal

So, let me delay no further – let me stall no more – let me be the one to declare to anyone who is considering getting their clavicle hardware removed:

IT FEELS GREAT!!! OMG, the Metal Bug is gone! I feel better today, one day after the surgery than the day before surgery!  So let it be known: Anyone who has a plate and screws installed to repair a broken collarbone and feels constant stiffness or discomfort – Removal of the hardware does promise relief.

Spread the news, because but for one youtube video, I could not find this insight anywhere online – and collarbone fractures are one of the most common sports injuries!

My biggest fear with the hardware removal was that the stiffness and discomfort I felt was being caused by another aspect of physiology, and not by the hardware.  But alas, in my case, it was directly related to the great Metal Bug.  My arm movement two days after the surgery is excellent, I don’t have any of the “frozen shoulder” symptoms or stiffness, and my body feels loose and ready to go. And I have hardly any noticeable discomfort from the surgical incision. The only medication I am taking is the anti-inflammatory, Toradol.

Now my plan is simple: Take it easy for a few weeks to allow the surgical wound to heal and the bone to repair the screw holes. Then the recovery is complete. A nine-month journey that started because an off-leash dog found my bike to be the second most exciting thing along a paved bike path. I am simply happy to have made the round trip recovery with a minor break. Whether or not a surgical repair was the correct decision, I will never know, but my conclusion at the outset was that I would make a full recovery no matter what.

A clavicle fracture is one of the most common bone breaks (i.e., hello fellow cyclists). The purpose of publishing my journey is to help others gain insight into the conflicting and confusing treatment options and the associated outcomes.  When I searched the web, I found tons of information on the break, but I found very little information that detailed:

  1. What movements should I do to support clavicle rehabilitation?; and
  2. What happens when people decide to get their clavicle hardware removed?

Mission accomplished.  My broken clavicle journey began in June 2017 and is chronicled in three posts:

  1. Clavicle Injury Part 1: Collarbone Fracture Recovery from Death Defying Bike Accident
  2. Clavicle Injury Recovery Part 2: Collarbone Fracture Rehabilitation with at-home physical therapy for post clavicle fracture
  3. The blog post you are currently reading, Clavicle Hardware Removal Part 3: Collarbone Fracture – Removing the Surgical Implants
  4. Clavicle Injury & Surgical Repair Part 4: Collarbone Plate removal Q&A

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Safe riding everyone!


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