What do doctors do for broken ribs?

Broken ribs are no laughing matter. They can be incredibly painful and seriously limit your mobility, making it difficult to perform even simple tasks like breathing or coughing without wincing in pain. So what exactly do doctors do for a patient with broken ribs? In this article, we’ll explore the various treatments physicians use to help heal broken bones.


The first step in treating a broken rib is figuring out if you actually have one. This may seem obvious, but it’s not always easy to tell if a rib is fractured since x-rays won’t show the break unless there’s displacement of bone. That being said, if you’ve suffered an injury that could cause a fracture or have persistent pain near your chest area while moving,you should probably head on over to see your physician.


Doctors typically start by performing an x-ray exam as well as a physical examination where they inspect
for tender spots along the collarbone and sternum areas.
An x-ray will be able to reveal cracks or fractures throughout one’s two dozen ribs.

If damage isn’t observed by an initial x-ray however symptoms persist— then CT scan of thorax might be taken.

Non-surgical methods


In most cases, non-surgical treatment methods are preferred over surgery; unless multiple fracturesare observed.Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen can also ease swelling.Patients encouraged primarily simply just get some rest .

Ice packs & Pain medication

Patients who experience significant levels of pain associated with their condition may turn to icepacks when they feel any discomfort which really strays away from traditional medical approach.The application of heat through warm water compresses helps in relief with deeper muscle fatigue.Severe patients are usually recommended opiods (a highly addictive elixir)only those who are suffering acute discomfort or need a quick relief.

Patient handling

To prevent further damage, patients are instructed not to move their upper body excessively. To avoid intense coughing fits doctors often recommend using splints ,compression wraps around the chest as well as patient turning over.

Surgical methods

Surgery is usually only recommended in cases where:

  • The broken bone has caused significant damage to the surrounding tissues and/or organs.
  • Multiple fractures (three or more) occur ribs.

In these sorts of events, it’s time for doctors to consider surgery.


Had enough rest,but still feeling pain?

Broken bones can shift out of place after an injury resulting in shifting ribcage movement which heightens side effects. Generally physicians would try non-surgical intervention first but if that doesn’t show progress then they might go with surgical treatment called reduction.

During this procedure, doctors will realign the fractured bones before holding them into position either using a plate system or screw until healing resumes.

Internal reduction fixation

The hardware attached on top helps anchor down bond material between ribs connected by ligamentous connections.Internal reduction (a.k.a internal implant) involves placing said metal surgically within the area through small incision wounds comparatively becoming one promimant aspects medical technological innovations.As shown below:


External reduction fixation…

You might be asking what if your doctor thinks you aren’t healthy enough for invasive treatments?This is where external comes in.Itonvolves less-invasive procedures compared while minimizing any undesirable complications.Nonetheless risk factors similar internally applied implants and screws.Although practice may sound menacing growth human medicine coupled itself along advances situated surgery tools.

Expectation after Reduction

Reduction thoracic surgery is an undoubtedly stimulating ordeal,but generally within six to eight weeks,one can expect 100 percent muscular regrowth.

Cartilage & Tissue Reconstruction

If the damage was extensive or caused displacement of surrounding tissues and organs,the doctor might recommend plastic surgery.This could involve grafting rib bones from other parts of musculoskeletal system in the patient’s body.Cartilage &Tissue reconstruction does give individuals their chest measurements back but sometimes leaves certain external scars compared with traditional surgical procedures.Surprisingly any scar tissue build that takes place required for repairing entire damages.

Pain management

If you’ve managed to break your ribs, pain relief is obviously a top priority.it’s important find out what pain medication should be used depending on severity.
Generally advised drugs:

  • acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol);
  • NSAIDs (e.g., ibuprofen);
  • or opioids

Additionally nerve blocks are great at providing immediate pain relief in severe cases.There exists diverse options available on provision of sedatives however they come with side effects like drowsiness which hinders planning day effectively.

Recovery period

In general, it takes about two months for broken ribs to heal completely.If done through operation then physicians may take further care depending on severity using various techniques including wound dressings,stiffness managing as well advising customers how much pressure they are allowed put on injured area overtime.

Preventative measures

There’s no clear definitive way to prevent broken rib injuries altogether , but there are ways that one can lessen its impact :

  1. Wear seat-belt while driving.
  2. Always wear protective gear when participating in sports activities.
  3. Avoid drinking too heavily

Rib fractures do hurt!but usually recover significantly over time without going under scissors.However if discomfort persists,surgical treatment would most definitely cater needs.In extreme events where multiple fractures occur,intervention is needed to hold them at bay until normalcy in breathing is restored.Patients are encouraged not to use opiods unless necessary and follow medical advice strictly until the duration prescribed by physician.