Rib Removal Recovery

Q: Dr. Eppley, what is rib removal recovery like? I understand it is two to three weeks, but is that time spent in bed, or is it closer to recovery the first week, then taking it easy for two more weeks or something different? i work at a job that is not too stressful physically, but it does require that i can stand, occasionally sit and move close to normally. Thank you!

A: The answer to your question is the latter in your description. It is a progressive recovery based on increased activity starting from right after surgery with the goal of being back to all normal activities within 3  to 4 weeks after surgery. In short there are no restrictions after surgery, you do what feels comfortable. It is important to remember that you can’t hurt the rib removal site no matter what you do. You can not hurt the ribs as they have been removed unliike a rib fracture where one is trying to get the bone ends to heal. The recovery is more about muscle and soft tissue healing. So as soon as one feels more comfortable after a week or so after the surgery, it is important to get moving and stretching to help one recover faster.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana