Fractured clavicle in the newborn
Fractured collar bone - newborn; Broken collar bone - newborn
A fractured clavicle in the newborn is a broken collar bone in a baby that was just delivered.
A fracture of a newborn's collar bone (clavicle) can occur during a difficult vaginal delivery.
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 the problem often can't 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 collar bone.
Exams and Tests
A chest x-ray will show whether or not there is a broken bone.
Generally, there is no treatment other than lifting the child gently to prevent discomfort. Occasionally, the arm on the affected side may be immobilized, most often by simply pinning the sleeve to the clothes.
Full recovery occurs without treatment.
Most often, there are no complications. Because infants heal well, it may be impossible (even by x-ray) to tell that a fracture occurred.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if your baby acts uncomfortable when you lift them.
Marcdante KJ, Kliegman RM. Assessment of the mother, fetus, and newborn. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 58.
Prazad PA, Rajpal MN, Mangurten HH, Puppala BL. Birth injuries. In: Martin RJ, Fanaroff AA, Walsh MC, eds. Fanaroff and Martin's Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Diseases of the Fetus and Infant. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 29.
Last reviewed on: 8/7/2019
Reviewed by: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.