Can My Unhealed Fractured #12 Rib Be Removed?

Q: Dr. Eppley, Hello, I found your information from an online article I came across last night. I am reaching out to request information on your rib removal procedure. I am a middle aged male in very good general health. My 12th rib on my right side however is fractured and will not heal. This happened back in early 2023, so I have been dealing with pain on and off for just over over a year now. My primary care physician was confident in our last meeting that my rib would heal on its own, but this meeting was months ago and I’m still struggling with pain. I am not sure he will even agree to this type of surgery, but I just want to be able to live an active lifestyle again and be pain free once more. Which is why I’m reaching out to other specialists outside my network. My two questions are 1. Am I a candidate that you would possibly consider for this type of surgery even tho this is not cosmetic in nature and instead to alleviate pain? And 2. What type of cost would be associated with rib removal of a single (12th) rib? Thank you so much for your time.

A:The key question from my standpoint is where is the rib#12 fractured along its length? I assume this is shown in an x-ray.  That would determine how effectively it could be removed. (get rid of the free floating bone segment distal to the fracture line)

Rib #12 is a very short rib with thin bone so I would doubt it ever could heal back as solid bone so the fact that it hasn’t healed is no surprise.

Dr. Barry Eppley

World-Renowned Plastic Surgeon