• John G. EdwardsEmail author
  • William J. Hunt


Non-united rib fractures (NURFs) can be a cause of prolonged morbidity. Typically defined as symptomatic rib fractures remaining non-united over three after the original injury, little is known about their incidence or risk factors. Although surgical stabilization of non-united rib fractures (SSNURFs) was first reported in 1941, the literature consisted solely of case reports until 2014. Different techniques have been applied to SSNURFs and are described. Surgical strategies are considered in light of a recently proposed, unifying bone-healing and non-union theory. Aspects of surgical technique which may be employed for SSNURFs include non-union debridement or excision, medullary reaming and bone grafting and plating. Non-surgical management is discussed. There is a need for prospective data collection and clinical trials to define the clinical impact and optimum management of NURFs.


Non-union Malunion Rib fractures Flail chest Rib fracture fixation Surgical stabilisation of rib fractures Bone healing Bone-healing and non-union theory 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Northern General HospitalSheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation TrustSheffieldUK

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