Can Rib Removal Surgery Be Done In Someone With Scoliosis?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I am interested in rib removal surgery. The main reason is mostly cosmetic so I would also be looking into liposuction in that area as well. I am of a smaller build 5’2” 118 lbs. The asymmetry in my body and lack of waist has significantly impacted my body image so I have been looking at rib removal for years but always thought it was too dangerous or extreme! 

I am curious about how much greater the risks are in regards to the organs once the ribs are removed and with my scoliosis if the risks are higher?

A: The risk of organ damage in general in rib removal surgery is essentially zero. It is a common misconception that is a concern. I would refer to my website, where you search under the term RIB REMOVAL and read what I wrote about Rib Removal surgery and organ damage in an article in more detail. This is particularly relevant in your case where taking rib #12 has no aesthetic benefit. You will understand the relevance of that when you read that article. Your scoliosis creates no added risks to the surgery. Its only relevance is that it has shown on one side why taking rib #12 has no benefit to waist reduction.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana