What Is The Recovery Like For Subcostal Rib Protrusion Shaving?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I read about your procedure to shave a Subcostal Rib Protrusion. I had a trauma to my left rib. After it fully healed there is a pointy protrusion that interferes with laying on my stomach or side on hard surfaces (like yoga, Jiu Jitsu, or even just crawling under a car to work on it). 

Can you tell me how often you have done the surgery? Do you have any before and after photos? What is the recovery time? How bad is the scarring? 


A: I have done a handful of subcostal rib protrusion patients…all with the same history of trauma. Usually what occurs is a disarticulation of the costochondral junction with a resulting protrusion of the more mobile cartilage side. You are correct in that the protrusion can be be reduced by shaving of the cartilage to make it more level with the bony side. I would need to see a picture of the chest wall protrusion to confirm this supposition based on your description of it. The scarring from the surgery is very small as the surgery uses the ‘mobile window’ concept. There are no physical restrictions after the surgery as you can not harm the surgical site. There will be some expected soreness and it usually takes about a month until one can comfortably return to any form of strenuous physical activity.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana