Rib Fracture


What is a rib fracture? A rib fracture is a crack or break in a rib. Your ribs are the bones that connect from the front of your chest around to your spine (backbone). All of the bones of your ribs make your rib cage.

What causes a rib fracture?

What are the signs and symptoms of a rib fracture?

How is a rib fracture diagnosed? Your caregiver will ask about your injury and examine you. He will ask about your breathing and pain. He will look for any signs of bleeding or bruising. You may need 1 or more of the following:

How is a rib fracture treated?

What are the risks of a rib fracture? You may bleed or get an infection if you have surgery. You may get a blood clot in your leg or arm. The clot may travel to your heart or brain and cause life-threatening problems, such as a heart attack or stroke. Without treatment, you may get an infection in your lungs or blood. Air or blood may also collect inside your chest after a rib fracture and cause increased trouble breathing. When this happens, you may need a drain put into your chest to remove the air or blood. Life-threatening injuries may also be present with a rib fracture. These may include injuries to your organs such as your heart, lungs, liver, and spleen.

When should I contact my caregiver? Contact your caregiver if:

When should I seek immediate care? Seek care immediately or call 911 if:


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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