Does implant removal of superior clavicle plate osteosynthesis affect the functional outcome: a prospective trial

Markus Wurm, Marc Beirer, Michael Zyskowski, Christopher Völk, Arthur Schwarz, Peter Biberthaler, Chlodwig Kirchhoff, Moritz Crönlein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Elective implant removal (IR) accounts for up to 30% of all orthopaedic surgeries. While there is general acceptance about the need of implant removal for obvious reasons, such as infections or implant failure, little is known about the beneficial aspects in cases of minor reasons such as patients’ wish for IR. Therefore, we initiated this study to define patients’ benefit of elective implant removal following plate osteosynthesis of displaced clavicle fractures. Patients and methods: Prospective evaluation of patients was conducted before implant removal and 6 weeks postoperative. Subjective and objective criteria included pain rating on a visual analogue scale (VAS) and active range of motion (ROM) pre- and 6 weeks postoperative. Functional scoring included Constant-Murley Score, DASH (Disabilities of Arm, Shoulder and Hand Score), MSQ (Munich Shoulder Questionnaire) and SPADI (Shoulder Pain and Disability Index). Results: 37 patients were prospectively enrolled in this study and implant removal was performed after 16 ± 6.1 months. No re-fractures nor other complications were detected during routine follow up. Functional outcome increased through all scores (Constant score 73.3 ± 14.6 preoperative to 87.4 ± 12.0 postoperative (p = 0.000), MSQ 85.0 ± 7.3 preoperative to 91.8 ± 9.0 postoperative (p = 0.005), DASH Score 7.4 ± 8.2 preoperative to 5.7 ± 9.5 postoperative (p = 0.414), SPADI 93.4 ± 6.6 preoperative to 94.0 ± 10.1 postoperative (p = 0.734). Conclusions: Discomfort during daily activities or performing sports as well as limited range of motion were the main reasons for patients’ wish for implant removal. We found increased functional outcome parameters and decreased irritation after implant removal. Therefore we suggest implant removal in case of patients’ wish and completed fracture consolidation. Trial registration: Trial registration no: NCT04343118, Retrospective registered:

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-144
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Clavicle fractures
  • Disturbing implants
  • Elective surgery
  • Hardware removal
  • Implant removal
  • Irritation


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