Rib Resection

Q: Dr. Eppley, We spoke several months ago about my slipped rib and the possibility of having rib removal surgery for it. I’ve tried to manage things conservatively but my pain has not improved. In weighing the risks-benefits of an eleventh and twelfth rib resection, one of my concerns is the risk of a flank hernia. As you know, there is very little data on this in the medical literature. Most of what I’ve been able to dig up is in the context of rib resection to facilitate kidney removal. I would imagine that based on your extensive experience resecting ribs, you probably have more data than anyone on the potential risk of a flank hernia. In short, with the obvious disclaimer that you’re not giving me any formal medical advice, I would appreciate hearing your thoughts on the risk of a potential flank hernia from a resection of the eleventh and twelfth ribs. Thanks again for all your help. I really appreciate the time you’ve taken to answer my questions.

A: The simple answer to your rib resection question is that I have never seen such a complication or would I ever anticipate one. With preservation of the medial periosteal layer I can not imagine this occurring. This is quite different than opening up the peritoneal space for kidney removal.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana