Isolated bifid rib: Clinical and radiological findings in children

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Abstract

Background:

Bifid rib is usually asymptomatic but sometimes occurs associated with other pathological conditions. The aim of this study was to investigate clinical and radiological characteristics in children with bifid rib.

Methods:

Nine children with the diagnosis of bifid rib between 2005 and 2010 were reviewed. Chest radiography and computed tomography (CT) were performed in all patients, and 3-D images were additionally reconstructed in six patients.

Results:

Five girls and four boys with a mean age at presentation of 4.2 years had various types of unilateral bifid rib. Seven patients complained of a chest wall mass, whereas two patients whose costal abnormalities were incidentally detected on chest radiography were asymptomatic. Bifid ribs were confirmed on plain radiographs in six patients, while the other three patients were finally diagnosed on reconstruction 3D-CT. One patient with a flared rib on a radiograph showed bifurcation of the costal cartilage on 3D-CT. The other two patients with upper rib abnormalities on radiography had downward extension of the cervical or first rib articulating with the upper branch of the bifid first or second rib, respectively.

Conclusion:

Reconstruction 3D-CT can demonstrate complicated thoracic abnormalities in patients with atypical appearance of the rib on plain radiographs. An isolated bifid rib may require no further intervention.

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