Rib Fracture Treatment | Medication | Surgery
Ribs are the longest curved bones that form a shell called a rib cage. They surround your chest, allowing your lungs to expand and contract during breathing while allowing the expansion of the chest cavity. They partially enclose and protect your lungs, heart, and other internal organs of the thorax. Though your rib bones are strong and connect to bands of muscles, one or more of your ribs get damaged if you get hit hard by anything in the chest.
What is a rib fracture?
A rib is said to be broken due to an injury that causes one or more bones in the rib cage to break or crack. The common cause of rib fractures is chest trauma due to a motor vehicle accident or a fall or due to high impact on the chest during contact sports.
Most times, broken ribs are slightly cracked. However, they are still painful but not potentially dangerous and heal by themselves. But severe rib fractures that have been broken into pieces lead to potential complications. It can damage blood vessels, nerves, or nearby internal organs.
Causes & Risk factors of rib fractures
Broken ribs cause extreme pain and even hurts your breath. Apart from the conditions mentioned above, the following are the risk factors for rib fractures:
- Osteoporosis: It is a condition in which bones lose their mineral density. Hence, they become more susceptible to a fracture. These are called pathologic rib fractures.
- A cancerous lesion in a rib can weaken your bone and make it more sensitive to fractures.
- Repeated movements – such as swinging a golf bat, rowing a boat, or swimming increase the risk of rib fractures.
- Coughing repeatedly, and forcefully can also cause a rib fracture. These stress fractures are likely to happen in your upper or middle ribs.
About 10% of people who go to the hospital are due to blunt chest trauma and have more than one broken rib.
Rib fracture treatment elderly: Some people are more prone to rib fractures than elders and those people with certain health conditions such as infections, tumors, and conditions that weaken their bones. Rib fracture treatment in this category of people requires the dexterity and expertise of the orthopedic surgeon.
Symptoms of rib fractures:
Chest pain is the major symptom of a broken rib, which becomes more severe while taking a deep breath or during other chest movements like sneezing or coughing. Some other symptoms include:
- Bruising or swelling around your ribs
- Breathing problems
- Trouble taking long and deep breathe
Torn or punctured aorta, punctured lung, lacerated spleen, liver, or kidneys are some of the complications as a result of rib fractures.
Rib Fracture Treatment
Restricting activities that involve stress on your ribs and icing the fractured area regularly helps you with faster healing and pain relief. The treatment involves
It is important to take pain relief medicines if it hurts while breathing because it might lead to pneumonia. If oral medications are not effective enough, your doctor may suggest injections that block the nerves around the ribs.
Rib Fracture Treatment Surgery
Surgical treatment for a broken rib is necessary only when there are severely fractured ribs. For instance, if a broken rib bone punctures your lung, it requires surgical treatment. Flail chest and chest wall deformity are the common reasons that require surgery.
The surgery involves reordering the chest bones or removing the broken bone pieces etc. In some cases, implants like metal plates, rods, and bioabsorbable plates are used to treat broken ribs. Symptoms like chest pain and breathing problems might not occur after placing the implants.
However, the treatment options vary according to the cause and severity of the rib fractures. To know more information about rib fractures or in desperate need of treatment for any bone problem contact Dr Vasudeva Juvvadi, one of the best orthopedic doctors in Hyderabad. He is renowned for his patient-friendly treatment approach.