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Alternative Names Return to topFractured collar bone - newborn
Definition Return to top
A fractured clavicle in the newborn is a broken shoulder bone in a baby that was just delivered.
Causes Return to top
A fracture of a newborn's shoulder bone (clavicle) can occur during a difficult vaginal delivery. It is fairly common during difficult births.
Symptoms Return to top
The baby will not move the painful, injured arm. Instead, the baby will hold it still against the side of the body. Lifting the baby under the arms causes the child pain. Sometimes the fracture can be felt with the fingers, but usually the problem cannot be seen or felt.
Within a few weeks, a hard lump may develop where the bone is healing. This lump may be the only sign that the newborn had a broken shoulder bone.
Exams and Tests Return to top
A chest x-ray will show whether or not there is a broken bone.
An infant's refusal to move an arm may also be due to partial dislocation of the elbow (nursemaid's elbow), nerve damage, infection, or other causes.
Treatment Return to top
Generally, there is no treatment other than lifting the child gently to prevent discomfort. Occasionally, the arm on the affected side may be immobilized.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
Full recovery occurs without treatment.
Possible Complications Return to top
There are usually no complications. Later in life, due to the excellent healing potential of infants, it may be impossible (even by x-ray) to tell that a fracture occurred.
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if your baby acts uncomfortable when you lift him or her.Update Date: 10/15/2007 Updated by: Deirdre O’Reilly, MD, MPH, Neonatologist, Division of Newborn Medicine, Children’s Hospital Boston and Instructor in Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts. Review Provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.