Upon injury, there may be signs of bleeding or bruising externally as well as difficulty breathing. If you or a loved one believe you have a broken rib, consult a doctor for guidance. It’s essential to be correctly diagnosed to rule out more severe injuries and learn about treatment options that can help your recovery.
After completing a physical examination where your doctor may press gently on your ribs and listen to your chest, he or she may recommend the following tests to identify fractures and the severity of injuries:1
Once you receive a fractured rib diagnosis from your doctor, you may have two options for treatment: conservative non-surgical treatment or surgical treatment.
If fractures are not as severe, your doctor may recommend bed rest and pain therapy. Most broken ribs potentially heal on their own within six weeks with restricting activities and icing the area regularly, which can help with healing and pain relief.1 Depending on your pain level, your doctor might prescribe something you can take for pain relief or an injectable form of anesthesia to help numb the nerves directly around the rib in the first few days following a rib fracture.2
Once the pain is under control, your doctor might prescribe breathing exercises or respiratory therapy to help you breathe deeply. Continued shallow breathing may put you at risk of developing pneumonia.1
If you or a loved one has three or more fractured ribs, severe chest damage, surgery may be needed. During the procedure, your surgeon may implant a metal plate or bridge fixed to your bone to reset the fractured rib into place, called surgical fixation. This implant is permanent and not meant to be removed.
Several clinical studies show that patients treated with surgical fixation may benefit when compared to the conservative treatment, such as:
It’s important to know your options when considering surgery for rib fixation. Zimmer Biomet provides the most comprehensive rib fixation solutions, including a minimally invasive solution called the RibFix Advantage System® and RibFix Blu® for more complex cases. To learn about these options, click here.
As with most surgery comes risks, including but not limited to, poor bone formation, infection, or fracture of the device. For a complete list of risks associated with Zimmer Biomet’s rib fixation systems, click here.
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For printed information on Rib Fixation, call 1-800-874-7711.
Talk to your surgeon about whether Rib Fixation is right for you and the risks of the procedure, including the risk of implant wear, loosening or failure, and pain, swelling and infection. Zimmer Biomet does not practice medicine; only a surgeon can answer your questions regarding your individual symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.