Surgical treatment of broken ribs uses plates to stabilize fractured ribs while they heal and hold the ribs in their correct anatomic location.
Fractured ribs, also referred to as broken or cracked ribs, are common in blunt chest wall trauma and active lifestyle injuries from cycling to football. The fractured ribs usually heal on their own without specific treatment, but a subset of patients have fractures that produce overlaying bone fragments that may produce symptoms like severe rib pain, respiratory compromise, chest wall deformity, and/or a clicking sensation. The pain/rib soreness with rib fractures can make coughing and sleeping uncomfortable and difficult.
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A rib fracture is a common injury that can occur as a result of trauma to the chest, such as a fall or car accident. In some cases, surgery may be required to repair the fracture and promote healing. One surgical option for rib fracture repair is the placement of a rib fracture plate.
A rib fracture plate is a small metal device that is surgically implanted to stabilize a fractured rib. The plate is placed on the surface of the rib and held in place with screws or other hardware. The plate helps to keep the rib in the correct position, which allows it to heal properly.
Rib fracture plate surgery is typically performed under general anesthesia, which means you will be asleep during the procedure. The surgeon will make a small incision in the skin over the fracture and use X-rays or other imaging techniques to guide the placement of the plate and screws. Once the plate is in place, the incision will be closed with stitches or surgical staples.
Recovering from rib fracture plate surgery can take several weeks to several months, depending on the severity of the fracture and the individual's overall health. During the first few days after surgery, you may need to keep your chest elevated and avoid using it as much as possible. You may also need to wear a chest brace to protect the rib and allow it to heal properly.
As the rib begins to heal, you may be able to start physical therapy to help restore range of motion and strength to your chest. Your surgeon will provide you with specific instructions on how to care for your chest and when you can start using it again.
Like any surgical procedure, there are risks associated with rib fracture plate surgery. Some potential risks include:
Allergic reaction to the metal in the plate
However, these risks are relatively rare, and most people who undergo rib fracture plate surgery experience a full recovery with no complications.
A rib fracture plate is a common surgical procedure used to treat rib fractures. While the procedure carries some risks, it can help improve healing time, reduce the risk of complications, and restore full range of motion to the affected area. If you are considering rib fracture plate surgery, be sure to talk to your surgeon about the potential benefits and risks.
Can a rib fracture plate be removed after the rib has healed?
Yes, a rib fracture plate can be removed once the rib has healed. Your surgeon will determine the appropriate time for plate removal.
Is rib fracture plate surgery painful?
Rib fracture plate surgery is typically performed under general anesthesia, so you should not feel any pain during the procedure. However, you may experience some discomfort during the recovery process.
Are there any alternative treatments for rib fractures?
Yes, there are several alternative treatments for rib fractures, including pain management and physical therapy. Your surgeon will recommend the best treatment for your individual needs.
How long does it take to recover from rib fracture plate surgery?
Recovery time varies depending on the severity of the fracture and the individual's overall health. It can take several weeks to several months to fully recover.