Rib Fracture Clinic

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Swedish Thoracic Surgery / First Hill

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Incidence of Rib Fractures

Rib fractures are the most common chest injury accounting for 10 to 15 percent of all traumatic injuries in the U.S. Nearly 300,000 people are seen annually in acute-care settings for rib fractures and 7 percent of this population will require hospitalization for medical, pain and/or surgical management.

Complications in Rib Fracture Patients

Associated rib fracture injuries — including pulmonary contusions, hemothorax, pneumo-thorax and pleural effusions — can all lead to complex pulmonary problems with increased risk of added morbidity, avoidable hospital admission or even death.

Rib Fractures and Pain Control

Rib fractures are painful and often take upwards of 6 weeks to 6 months to heal and for patients to become pain free. Historically, good pain control has been the only treatment intervention for these patients. Poor or inadequate pain control will often lead to progressive atelectasis and pneumonia, particularly in the elderly or the active smoker.

Learn about a new, improved way of fixing broken ribs in the following video. Rib Plating can speed up recovery from months to weeks, and help significantly with pain.

Services at Swedish

Our Adult Acute Rib Fracture Clinic is designed to offer comprehensive evaluation and longitudinal management of the rib-fracture patient. We offer symptom monitoring, strong guidance in aggressive pulmonary hygiene and are committed to managing associated pain. We can also provide pleural space drainage in the office and surgical intervention in the rare instance where it may be required. Indeed, early data suggests that some individuals with physically demanding work may benefit from early surgical rib plating and fixation (ORIF) to promote a quicker recovery and earlier return to productive work and normal activities of daily living.

We believe the expertise we bring will allow us to provide quality patient care, better outcomes and increased patient satisfaction.

Appointments & Referrals

We accept patients with all insurance types including Medicaid and the uninsured. We are happy to collaborate with other health professionals in the care of their patients. We have designated appointments to accommodate rib fracture patients and welcome urgent visits in our outpatient clinic, when requested by providers. We are also happy to provide consultation on any hospitalized patients for evaluation, treatment and follow-up after they are discharged.