European Journal of Trauma and Emergency Surgery

, Volume 44, Issue 5, pp 717–726 | Cite as

Epidemiology of clavicle fractures in a level 1 trauma center in Belgium

  • M. HerteleerEmail author
  • T. Winckelmans
  • H. Hoekstra
  • S. Nijs
Original Article



In the last 10 years, there has been an increasing tendency toward operative fixation of clavicle fractures. In this retrospective analysis, we will demographically assess all patients who sustained a clavicle fracture and were treated in our university hospital between 2004 and 2014.


We retrospectively updated our database and analyzed all adult patients who were diagnosed with a clavicle fracture in our hospital. The following parameters were included in the database: age, gender, Robinson classification, date of trauma, injury mechanism, time until surgery, and reason for delayed surgery. Descriptive statistics were used to describe differences between patient groups and linear regression was performed to identify trends over time.


667 patients were included for analysis. The mean age was 43 ± 17.7 years. The majority of clavicle fractures occurred due to bicycle injuries (35.3%) and these increased from 2004 until 2014 (r = 0.738, R² = 0.545, p = 0.009). Patients with a midshaft clavicle fracture were increasingly treated primarily surgically (r = 0.928, R² = 0.861, p < 0.0001). There was an increased ratio of delayed surgery in relation to age from the age of 16 (9.1%) until the age of 70 years (37.2%).


There is an increasing number of fractures sustained by bicycle accidents and an increasing number of patients undergoing operative treatment. Middle-aged patients more often had delayed surgery compared with young adult patients. This could be due to an increased activity level of the elder population and the concomitant demand for a faster return to activities.

Level of evidence

III, retrospective comparative study.


Clavicle fracture Epidemiology Conservative treatment Operative treatment 



Motorbike accident


Motor vehicle accident


Low-energy fall


High-energy fall



The authors would like to thank Inge Meex, Mathias Roobroeck and Lisa ten Kate for helping with setting up the preliminary database. The authors would also like to thank Catherine Wickham for proofreading the final version of the article.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Michiel Herteleer, Thomas Winckelmans, Harm Hoekstra and Stefaan Nijs have no conflicts of interest.

Research involving human participants

This research has been approved by the ethical committee and their approval is added as file “59661 Nijs BD1 16NOV2016 GK signed.pdf”.

Informed consent

No informed consent was necessary, as this research is a retrospective chart review and approval by the ethical committee was obtained.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Trauma SurgeryUniversity Hospitals LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Organ SystemsKU Leuven, University of LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  3. 3.Faculty of MedicineKU Leuven, University of LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  4. 4.Department of Development and RegenerationKU Leuven, University of LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

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