What Is The Risk Of Intercostal Neuralgia With Rib Removal Surgery?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I’m interested in the rib removal surgery for ribs 11 and 12. I’m wondering, do patients have any long-term pain associated with this? Have any patients ended up with nerve damage from the surgery or intercostal neuralgia? I’ve been told that that is a risk, so I’m wondering about the experience of your patients. And are patient able to exercise after having muscles detached from those lower ribs? 

Doesn’t seem that there are many surgeons that are doing this, so I really haven’t been able to find any information or reviews from patients after having the surgery. Im very interested, but I feel like I want to know what their outcomes are like before committing to this.

A: Thank you for your inquiry in regards to rib removal surgery to which I can answer your questions as follows:

1) No patient has ever reported any long-term discomfort or pain from the procedure.

2) Similarly, no patient has had any intercostal neuralgia now would I ec pe t them to as the intercostal nerves, which run on the bottom of each rib, is preserved.

3) All patients can return to full activities after the surgery whenever their comfort level for doing so permits.

4) In terms of aesthetic outcome (improved waistline shape/reduction) that is the most important criteria I try and assess before surgery. In other words, based on the patient’s goals can the surgery have a chance to be reasonable successful.

5) For more definitive information on this topic I would refer you to www.exploreplasticsurgery.com and place in the search box the term Rib Removal. There you will find a lot of information about the particulars of the surgery.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana