Current Surgery Reports

, 5:22 | Cite as

Surgical Stabilization of Rib Fractures

  • Jeremy L. Holzmacher
  • Babak SaraniEmail author
Trauma Surgery (J. Diaz, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Trauma Surgery


Purpose of Review

Surgical stabilization of rib fractures (aka rib plating) is underutilized, partly due to a perceived lack of evidence of benefit and unfamiliarity with the operation. The goal of this review is to identify and summarize the evidence surrounding surgical stabilization of chest wall injury in flail and non-flail injury patterns and highlight the limitations of our current knowledge.

Recent Findings

Recent meta-analyses and prior trials have provided evidence that rib fixation in flail chest injuries decreases the need for mechanical ventilation, decreases risk of pneumonia, and decreases mortality. Additionally, the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma and the Rib Fracture Colloquium have provided statements supporting rib fixation in flail injuries. The role of rib plating for patients with non-flail rib fractures remains controversial and requires further study.


Surgical stabilization of rib fractures in flail injuries is supported by the evidence and should be utilized in these select patients. More evidence is needed in non-flail injuries before recommendations can be made for rib fixation.


Surgical stabilization of rib fractures Rib plating Chest wall trauma Flail chest Open reduction and internal fixation 



Babak Sarani is a consultant to Acute Innovations, LLC (Hillsboro, OR). No other authors have any relevant financial interests to disclose.

Compliance with Ethics Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest relevant to this manuscript.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Trauma and Critical CareGeorge Washington UniversityWashingtonUSA

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