Newborn Fractures

Patient Education

How Common Are Clavicle And Humerus Fractures In Newborns?

Clavicle and humerus fractures in newborns are injuries that occur to the collarbone (clavicle) and upper arm bone (humerus) during the birthing process. These fractures can happen during vaginal delivery, particularly in cases where there is difficulty or trauma during childbirth, such as prolonged labor, breech presentation, or the use of forceps or vacuum extraction. Clavicle fractures are the most common type of birth-related fracture, followed by humerus fractures. While these fractures can be distressing for both the newborn and parents, they typically heal well with conservative management and do not lead to long-term complications in most cases.

What can cause Clavicle And Humerus Fractures In Newborns?

Causes or risk factors of Clavicle and Humerus Fractures in Newborns include:
  • Trauma or mechanical forces applied to the infant’s shoulders and arms during childbirth, which may occur during vaginal delivery, particularly in cases of difficult or prolonged labor.
  • Breech presentation, where the baby’s buttocks or feet are positioned to exit the birth canal first, increasing the risk of shoulder dystocia and birth-related injuries.
  • Maternal factors, such as maternal obesity or gestational diabetes, which may increase the likelihood of macrosomic (large) infants and difficult deliveries.
  • Use of assisted delivery techniques, including forceps or vacuum extraction, which may be necessary in cases of prolonged labor or fetal distress but can increase the risk of birth-related injuries.
  • Multiparity (having multiple births), as the risk of birth-related injuries may be higher in subsequent pregnancies, especially if previous deliveries were complicated by shoulder dystocia or other birth-related issues.
These factors can contribute to the occurrence of clavicle and humerus fractures in newborns and may increase the likelihood of these injuries in certain cases.

What are the symptoms of Clavicle And Humerus Fractures In Newborns?

Symptoms of Clavicle and Humerus Fractures in Newborns may include:
  • Swelling, bruising, or tenderness over the affected clavicle or humerus.
  • Limited range of motion in the affected arm or shoulder, with reluctance to move or use the arm.
  • Pain or discomfort with handling or manipulation of the affected limb, particularly during diaper changes or dressing.
  • Grasping or favoring of the unaffected arm, with avoidance of movement or weight-bearing on the injured side.
  • Crepitus (grating or crackling sensation) or abnormal movement of the fractured bone segments, which may be palpable during physical examination.
  • Cry or fussiness, especially with movement or when the affected arm is touched or manipulated.
These symptoms can vary depending on the severity of the fracture and any associated soft tissue injuries or complications present.


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