Winston-Salem, NC -- The clavicle or collarbone provides stability for the shoulder and protection for the arteries and vessels under it, but not everyone has one.
Dr. Andrew Koman, an orthopedic surgeon at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center says, "The collar bones that don't grow normally, or don't develop are known as pseudo-arthrotis of the clavicle, its relatively rare, and it occurs predominantly on the right side. So one of the major theories is, its related to the development of the blood vessels or the arches, and an abnormal development of that arch, causes that collar bone or clavicle not to actually fuse. That's rare, but that's the most common cause for failure to develop."
He says not having a clavicle or having one that only partially forms isn't necessarily a problem.
"If the collar bone doesn't completely heal, we can actually fix that, we can bone graph that, and stabilize that, and it will usually heal, for the children who are born without collar bones at all, there really is not much you can do, but other than the appearance of having a flattened chest, it doesn't cause pain, or disability, or shorten your life, or change your function."
The clavicle is actually the last bone to totally become calcified. It doesn't complete its growth until age 21 or 22.
WFMY News 2