Fractured ribs, also referred to as broken or cracked ribs, are common in blunt chest wall trauma from motor vehicle accidents and falls, as well as injuries from recreational activities, such as cycling and horseback riding. Most fractured ribs are treated non-operatively with pain medication and rest. However, patients with severe rib fractures may be candidates for surgery. These patients have rib fractures with overlaying bone fragments, producing symptoms like severe rib pain, respiratory compromise, chest wall deformity, and/or a clicking sensation. Severe rib fractures may:
If surgical treatment of broken ribs is required, the procedure would involve the use of titanium plates to stabilize your fractures, holding the ribs in the correct anatomic location as they heal.
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.