What Causes Lump On Collarbone & How is it Treated?

Lump On Collarbone:

The collarbone which is medically referred to as the clavicle is a long bone that joins the arm to the rest of the body. It runs between the shoulder blade and the sternum. The collarbone has numerous vessels and nerves surrounding it and thus any issue with the collarbone can affect the working of the nerves and vessels. A Lump on Collarbone can arise due to a variety of causes of which some are benign while others require medical intervention. In some cases, Lump on Collarbone may indicate the presence of a serious medical condition. Due to the location of this bone being just below the skin surface it is vulnerable to various injuries and trauma which may result in a lump to form in the collarbone [2].

In some cases, people have a clear understanding of what is exactly causing Lump on Collarbone especially if it is due to an injury or trauma sustained to the area. In other cases, however, a lump may present itself without any possible explanation [2].

What Causes Lump On Collarbone?

What Causes Lump On Collarbone?

Some of the possible causes for Lump on Collarbone include

Fracture: A fracture to the collarbone usually results from a trauma like a fall or an automobile accident injuring the shoulder blade area. The break in the bone may at times result in a lump being formed at the clavicle. It usually happens when the injury is severe and the bones are broken into multiple pieces. Aside from Lump on Collarbone, a fracture in the area will also cause the shoulders to sag [1].

The range of motion of the shoulders will also be restricted. The individual will have pain and swelling around the shoulder region. A radiograph of the affected area is good enough to definitively diagnose the cause of the Lump on Collarbone as a fracture [1].

Infection: Often at times, after an injury, a surgery, or when an intravenous line is placed around the clavicular area, the clavicular bone tends to get infected. This is medically termed as osteomyelitis. This may also cause Lump on Collarbone in some cases [1].

Aside from the lump, an individual with a bone infection will have fever, chills, and erythema around the affected region. There will also be swelling and pain. The lump may also drain some abnormal fluid [1].

Lymph Node Enlargement: This condition normally occurs around the neck area and the lymph nodes can be felt by palpating the area. However, in some cases they can also develop around the collarbone. The lymph node enlarges in majority of the cases due to an infection. This is mainly caused due to a viral or a bacterial infection.

However, in rare cases lymph node enlargement can also be caused due to some serious underlying medical condition like cancer. This is the reason why many physicians tend to analyze the lymph node fluid to rule out such serious causes [1].

Lymph Node Enlargement at times may also cause swelling and tenderness around the clavicular area. There will be visible signs of infection with fever and chills. Some people also tend to have night sweats as a result of the enlargement of the lymph nodes [1].

Cysts/Tumors: In rare cases, formation of a cyst or a tumor can also cause a Lump on Collarbone. While cysts are completely benign and not a cause for concern, a tumor may at times be malignant and require urgent medical treatment. The most common type of cyst that develops in the collarbone is a ganglion cyst although this type of cyst is most common in the wrist area [1].

A rare form of cyst called as aneurysmal bone cyst is a form of tumor that grows in the collarbone of people in their late teens. Lipoma or a benign tumor is also quite commonly seen around the collarbone area. These cysts are completely asymptomatic; however, if they interfere with the daily life of an individual then they need to be treated and removed [1].

How Is Lump On Collarbone Treated?

The treatment for Lump on Collarbone depends on what is causing the lump. The options include

Fracture: An individual with a fracture of collarbone resulting in a lump to form will be treated with an arm support or a sling to prevent the shoulder from moving and destabilize the fracture. The sling will be in place till the time the fracture completely heals. The patient will be prescribed pain medications to control the pain and swelling around the affected region [1].

Once the fracture has been confirmed as healed based on a series of radiographs, then the patient will be sent to physical therapy for strengthening and range of motion. This will be done for a period of three to four weeks and the patient will then be allowed to use the shoulder gradually. In cases of a compound or an open fracture where there are multiple breaks in the bone then a surgery will be required to place the pieces of bone back into their normal anatomical position with plates and screws and then allowed to heal [1].

Infection: There are a variety of treatment options for Osteomyelitis. The patient is generally put on a prolonged course of antibiotics. In severe cases a physician will recommend surgery to remove the diseased bone in order to treat the infection [1].

Lymph Node Enlargement: The treatment of lump on collarbone caused due lymph node enlargement will depend on the underlying causes of the enlargement of the lymph nodes. In majority of the cases, this condition resolves spontaneously once the infection clears up and does not require any medical intervention. Antibiotics in some cases are prescribed if the cause of the lymph node enlargement is believed to be a bacterial infection [1].

Cysts/Tumors: Benign cysts and tumors are generally managed by watchful waiting and observing for any growth or change in characteristics of the tumor or cyst. If the cyst gets really large then drainage will be required to drain the fluid present in the cyst and shrink it in size. In severe cases, the cyst may have to be surgically removed [1].

In cases of tumors, the physician will first assess whether the tumor is benign or malignant. In almost all the cases, the tumor will have to be removed surgically. If the tumor is malignant then the removal will be followed by a course of radiation and chemotherapy [1].

In conclusion, Lump on Collarbone can occur due to a variety of conditions. It may be caused due to a trauma or injury to the collarbone and sometimes an infection in the bone may also result in the development of a Lump on Collarbone. A cyst or a tumor at times also can lead to development of a Lump on Collarbone. The treatment of this condition depends on the underlying cause [1, 2].

The overall prognosis of a Lump on Collarbone post treatment depends on what is causing the condition. The overall prognosis of an individual with a malignant tumor causing Lump on Collarbone will depend on the severity and extent of the tumor and whether the tumor has spread to other adjoining areas of the body [1, 2].

If an individual develops Lump on Collarbone without any specific cause should consult with a physician to identify a cause for it and then formulate a treatment plan depending on the cause and manage Lump on Collarbone [1, 2].

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