Operative treatment of chest wall injuries: indications, technique, and outcomes

J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2011 Jan 5;93(1):97-110. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.I.00696.


Most injuries to the chest wall with residual deformity do not result in long-term respiratory dysfunction unless they are associated with pulmonary contusion. Indications for operative fixation include flail chest, reduction of pain and disability, a chest wall deformity or defect, symptomatic nonunion, thoracotomy for other indications, and open fractures. Operative indications for chest wall injuries are rare.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bone Plates
  • Contusions / diagnostic imaging
  • Flail Chest / diagnostic imaging
  • Flail Chest / surgery*
  • Fracture Fixation, Internal / methods*
  • Humans
  • Lung Injury / diagnostic imaging
  • Radiography
  • Rib Fractures / diagnostic imaging
  • Rib Fractures / surgery*
  • Thoracic Wall / injuries*