Q: Dr. Eppley, I am interested in rib removal surgery to reduce my protruding ribcage. How risky is this procedure? What are the complications/healing time? What would the results look like? How much, on average, would this cost? What other medical issues would be affected by the surgery? Sorry so many questions! Also, I live in Idaho how do you work with out-of-state patients?
A: Rib removal is not a dangerous surgery but, like any surgery that involves rib manipulation, it does cause some considerable discomfort. This is magnified when both sides of the ribcage are operated on at the same time. The best method of postoperative pain management I have found is the use of Exparel injections as intercostal nerve blocks done during the surgery. This is a local anesthetic that lasts for 72 hours after its placement. One could expect that it would take up to month after surgery until one has fully recovered. There will be a scar for the incision needed on both sides which would be about 6 to 7 cms long. The goal of the surgery is to remove ribs number 8 and 9 to reduce the subcostal protrusion.
My practice has many patients from all over the world for various types of plastic surgery. Patients usually come in the day before the surgery to have a face to face consultation and have surgery the next day. Whether you would stay overnite in the facility depends on whether you are traveling alone or with someone. I would anticipate your stay here to be no more than 2 or 3 days after rib removal surgery before returning home.
Dr. Barry Eppley