Rib Fracture Fixation Surgery

Rib fracture surgery is an innovative treatment Mr Sinha introduced to the North West London MajorTrauma Centre. He is the only surgeon performing this surgery in Central and West London.

In the acute setting multiple rib fractures are involved with a number of complications including uncontrollable pain, respiratory failure, pneumonia and patients may require supportive ventilation on a high dependency unit or intensive care unit.

In select cases rib fracture fixation is indicated to help minimise these complications occurring, or in some circumstances to aid recovery if these complications have already occurred.

The surgery involves a surgical incision(s) to expose the broken ribs. The ribs are manipulated into better alignment and are fixed with titanium plates and screws.

Not every broken rib is fixed, specific ribs are fixed to achieve stability of the chest wall.

At the end of the procedure a small drain is inserted which remains in place for the first 24 to 48 hours.

In the chronic setting some patients may have been suffering with chronic pain following previous rib fractures which have partially healed or not healed (delayed union or non union). If non-surgical treatments to aid in these fractures healing have failed, then rib fracture fixation surgery may be suitable to stabilise the broken ribs, aid in fracture healing and reduce chronic pain and painkiller dependency.

Pre op Surface volume rendered CT with digital deletion of scapula to reveal rib fracture location

Pre and post operative radiographs of flail chest rib fracture fixation

Pre operative radiographs of flail rib fractures with chest wall deformity and left acromioclavicular joint dislocation

Post operative radiographs of flail rib fracture fixation and left acromioclavicular joint fixation