Comparing treatments

  Brace Surgery
What can I expect?

To date, our best evidence suggests that on average surgery may not improve your shoulder or elbow function. It is possible that some fractures will benefit more than others.

What is the treatment?

You wear a brace for about 8 weeks.

Metal devices are used to keep the fracture from moving while it heals.

What are the results?

Top part of the shaft: about 75 out of 100 will heal in a brace.

Middle part: 96 out of 100 will heal in a brace.

Bottom part: almost all fractures will likely heal in a brace.

96 out of 100 fractures heal.

What are the advantages?

Decreased cost.

No risks associated with surgery and anesthesia.

No pain associated with surgery.

No inconvenience associated with surgery.

You can use your arm a few weeks earlier.

The fracture is less likely to heal in a bent position.

No need to wear a brace.

What are the disadvantages?

It’s quite limiting to be in a brace.

Your fracture might heal with a bend, which you may or may not notice.

6 out of 100 fractures treated with a brace have trouble healing, particularly fractures of the top third and fractures with separation of the fragments.

It may take a bit longer to get your shoulder fully moving.

The scar.

The risks, discomforts, and inconveniences of surgery.

Of 100 people that choose surgery:

  • 4 have trouble healing;
  • 4 have an infection;
  • 5 have nerve damage. Most nerve damage is temporary.

10 out of 100 people will have additional surgery.