Is Rib Fracturing Safer Than Rib Removal For Waistline Narrowing?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I recently ran across this 2021 paper titled  “Waist Narrowing Without Removal of Ribs”. What do you think of it? I have a boxy waist; but I store most of my fat viscerally, which means that I’m not a lipo candidate. I’ve always wondered about rib removal, but I’ve been worried about the possibility of chronic pain or other long-term complications. Would a procedure like described in this paper this be safer? 

A: As I have stated in the past, the concept of rib fracture rather than rib removal is a viable approach. The key to its success is the need to corset regularly for at least 2 months after the surgery to successfully reshape the ribs. It is not a question of which one is safer, as rib removal surgery is very safe and has never in my experience had any complications at all, but that rib fracture offers a shortened recovery period and less operating time to perform. The unknown question is which lower ribcage modification approach, fracture vs removal, offers superior results for waistline narrowing, or are they virtually similar in effectiveness. That answer will probably never be precisely known. So for now and into the foreseeable future potential surgical waistline narrowing patients should make that decision based on what recovery period they need and how motivated they are to adhere to a postoperative corseting garment.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana