Multiple Rib Nonunion: Open Reduction and Internal Fixation and Iliac Crest Bone Graft Aspirate

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Abstract

Purpose:

Rib fractures are a common chest injury that can typically be treated nonoperatively. However, a percentage of these will go on to nonunion, either because of unique characteristics of the fracture itself or because of a variety of poor healing factors of the host. If a patient has continued symptomology beyond 3 months, surgeons may consider operative management.

Methods:

Although isolated resection of fibrous scar tissue from the nonunion site may be sufficient in some cases, it may also be necessary to provide additional structural integrity to the rib depending on the extent of the fracture pattern and resection. This goal can be achieved operatively with rib plating and bone grafting to promote healing.

Results:

This video demonstrates the use of plating in the treatment of rib nonunion. It begins with relevant background information on rib fractures and nonunions, then details the approach, open reduction and internal fixation of 3 ribs using plates and bone graft aspirate. Pearls and pitfalls are included during the surgical technique aspect of the video to both help guide surgeons new to the procedure and provide potentially advantageous technical details to more experienced surgeons.

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