Surgical management of multiple rib fractures/flail chest

Joshil Vinod Lodhia, Konstantinos Konstantinidis, Kostas Papagiannopoulos


Rib fractures in the setting of trauma carries a high morbidity and mortality. Forty-three percent of patients presenting with trauma will have rib fractures. Fifty-five percent of patients, greater than 60 years of age, who die following chest trauma, have isolated rib fractures. Mortality associated with rib fractures starts to increase from the age of 45. Rib fixation is being utilised more for the management of rib fractures. Following the review of literature, we propose a pathway for the management of both simple rib fractures and flail segments. Furthermore, we review the various methods of rib fixation, discussing the advantages and disadvantages of each.