The Use of Novel Adopters for Acute Rib Fixation in Critical Chest Trauma, Undertaken by Orthopaedic Surgeons: an Observational Cohort Study

DOI: 10.1515/jccm-2015-0016

Background: Surgical stabilisation of acute rib fractures has recently undergone rapid change in the UK with respect to what type of injury is surgically stabilised and who undertakes the operation. This paper presents a review of the literature on surgical fixation and presents our early clinical experience using a recently introduced stabilising system.
Methods: Data was prospectively collected from the first 10 patients undergoing surgical stabilisation of acute rib fractures using the Synthes Matrix RIB plating system. The data included demographics, Injury Severity Score, length of stay in Intensive Care, length of time on a ventilator, analgesic requirements, pneumonia rates and mortality. Patients were followed up until they were discharged from hospital.
Results: Patients had an average Injury Severity Score of 26 (16-57), the average number of ribs fractured was 8.2 (4-14), nine patients had flail chest and one had multiple fractures, mean time from injury to fixation was 2.8 days. In the reported cohort, there were no deaths, two pneumonias (one had pneumonia on presentation). The average length of stay on a ventilator was three days and the average length of stay in Intensive Care was ten days.
Conclusion: The early results of this procedure are encouraging. We feel that the modern implants will provide superior results to the highly variable implants that have previously been used. Our results support the literature, showing that with this system, there is a decrease in mortality and morbidity and a decrease in the length of time on a ventilator and stay in Intensive Care.

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