Q: Dr. Eppley, Is there a way I can find out more about the rib cage narrowing you have posted on your website? I am interested in this procedure and would like to know more about how it is done, costs involved, and recovery time. Thank you.
A: Ribcage narrowing, also called waistline narrowing surgery, is done by removing the 9th and 10th cartilaginous ribs (and occasionally the 8th) to make the waistline vertically longer and narrower from the sides by removing the bulges of the ribs. It is a procedure that may be effective for some patients based on their anatomy and if they are already fairly thin. It is done through a 4 to 5cm incision directly under the rib cage on each side. One has to carefully balance whether the thin scars are a good trade-off for the result. Recovery is solely based on the level of discomfort and is, of course, quite similar to traditional rib graft harvesting for rhinoplasty or mandibular reconstruction with the exception that it is done on both sides. Immediate pain management is aided by the use of rib nerve blocks and infiltration of long-acting local anesthetics into the rib and abdominal musculature. It is done under general anesthesia as an outpatient. The total cost of the procedure is around $6500 – $7500.
Dr. Barry Eppley