Q: Dr. Eppley, My question is about the possibility of ribcage expansion surgery. Would it be possible to lengthen the bone of each rib and the clavicle in order to increase the width and overall size of the chest? In a similar to fashion to Jaw advancement surgery? Aside from cosmetic reasons I would think it could have health benefits related to increasing the space for the organs which would over time grow to fill the extra space much like when someone donates a kidney and the remaining one eventually grows to near double the size to compensate. I figured you would be a good person to ask since you are well known for performing the rib reducing surgery of Pixee Fox.
A: Ribcage expansion is not a viable operation. You can not increase the length of the ribs or the clavicles for a variety of medical and anatomic reasons. The one most significant reason is that the ribs can not be stretched out or their length increased due to the rigid attachments to the spine in the back and the sternum in the front. It is not similar at all to that of jaw advancement surgery which operates on a freely mobile and terminal bone.
Dr. Barry Eppley