Pathophysiology of Rib Fractures and Lung Contusion

  • Jeffrey J. Skubic
  • Barbara U. Okafor
  • Deepika NehraEmail author


Rib fractures and lung contusions are common among traumatically injured patients and are a major source of morbidity and mortality. These injuries typically result from significant force to the chest wall most commonly blunt in nature, but penetrating mechanisms can also be implicated. The effective care of these patients necessitates an understanding of the pathophysiology of the disease, which we will review in this chapter. We will start with a review of the relevant anatomy followed by a discussion focused on the pathophysiology of rib fractures and pulmonary contusions in addition to associated conditions involving the chest such as hemothoraces and pneumothoraces. We will conclude with a discussion of differences in pathophysiology among patients at the extremes of age.


Rib fracture Pulmonary contusion Lung contusion Hemothorax Pneumothorax Flail chest 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey J. Skubic
    • 1
  • Barbara U. Okafor
    • 1
  • Deepika Nehra
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Division of Trauma, Burns and Surgical Critical Care, Department of SurgeryBrigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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