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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 10-13

Surgical rib fixation: Does increase case volume lead to improved outcomes?

Division of Trauma, Gold Coast University Hospital, Southport, Queensland, Australia

Correspondence Address:
Bhavik M Patel
Division of Trauma, Gold Coast University Hospital, Southport, Queensland
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jctt.jctt_4_19

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Background: Surgical rib fixation in displaced rib fracture has been associated with positive patient outcomes in the literature. There is no data in the literature detailing the volume related outcomes in centres that offer surgical rib fixation in these patients. Methods: A retrospective review was conducted on surgical rib fixation cases performed from 2014 to 2018, with the early phase (EP) consisting of cases performed in the 2014-2017 period and the recent phase (RP) consisting of cases performed in 2018 to date. Variables for comparison included, indication for intervention, pain outcomes, and length of stay (LOS). Results: The five-year period yielded 37 cases. In the EP, 17 cases were performed, compared to 20 cases in the RP. The chest AIS scores were >3 for all cases with an average ISS of 21 in the EP compared to 19 in the RP. All patients underwent surgical rib fixation within 96 hours of admission. Pain was the predominant indication for intervention in the EP (65%, n = 11) compared to the RP where deformity and respiratory support (55%, n = 11) were the chief indicators. Subjective pain improvement was in favour of RP by 2.5 days. The average LOS was 546 hours days in the EP group, and 391 hours in the RP group. More anatomically difficult posterior and bilateral rib fixation cases were carried out in the RP group. Follow-up rate between the EP and RP were 75% vs 85% respectively with no hardware or pulmonary complications. Conclusion: Preliminary data analysis from the authors' institution suggests surgical rib fixation can be conducted with minimal complication. Increased case volume might improve outcomes related to subjective pain scores, length of stay, and complexity of surgical technique.

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