Clavicular osteolysis

Case contributed by Dr Sinéad Culleton


A 65 year old lady presented with a cough.

Patient Data

Age: 65 years
Gender: Female

Incidental finding of bilateral distal clavicular osteolysis.

Case Discussion

An important cause of pain involving the acromioclavicular joint is distal clavicular osteolysis, particularly post trauma or repetitive microtrauma associated with sports like weight lifting. It may also be asymptomatic. 

On radiographs it is seen as an area of osteopenia in the distal end of the clavicle, usually in the distal 2cm of the clavicle. There is loss of the articular cortical margin 1. In the early stages, x-rays may show osteopenia of the clavicle, soft-tissue swelling and loss of the distal subarticular cortex 2.

It can be due to trauma and traumatic joint separation. These are typically unilateral. Other causes may include gout or multiple myeloma. It can also be due to repetitive trauma such as in weight lifters and can be unilateral or bilateral.

Bilateral causes include rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma and hyperparathyroidism.


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Case information

rID: 40550
Published: 28th Oct 2015
Last edited: 14th Aug 2019
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

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