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Rib Fracture Overview

A rib fracture is an injury most commonly caused by blunt trauma to the chest as a result of motor vehicle accidents and falls.

Rib Fracture Overview

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What Is a Rib Fracture?

A rib fracture is an injury most commonly caused by blunt trauma to the chest as a result of motor vehicle accidents and falls. Patients with severe rib fractures, sometimes called flail chest (fractures of at least 3 consecutive ribs, each with 2 or more fractures) have been reported in some instances to suffer from long-term pain and disability.

 

Symptoms and Complications

The following have been observed after long-term follow up of some patients with flail chests:

    • Chest wall pain 1,2
    • Difficulty breathing on exertion1
    • Chest wall deformity2
    • Prolonged disability1


     

    References

    1. Landercasper J, Cogbill TH, Lindesmith LA. Long-term Disability after flail chest injury. J Trauma.1984;24(5):410-4.
    2. Simon B, Ebert J, Bokhari F, et al. Management of pulmonary contusion and flail chest: an Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma practice management guideline. J Trauma Acute Care Surgery 2012;73(5 Suppl 4):S351-61.

    IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
    Only a surgeon trained in rib fracture fixation can provide advice about whether rib fracture fixation surgery is right for you. See a surgeon to learn more. The performance of surgical plates and splints for the fixation and stabilization of ribs depends on the severity of the injury, age, weight, activity level and other factors. There are potential risks and recovery takes time. Each patient and surgeon must weigh the benefits of surgery against potential risks.

    105657-191107 DSUS