Chest pain caused by multiple exostoses of the ribs: A case report and a review of literature

World J Orthop. 2017 May 18;8(5):436-440. doi: 10.5312/wjo.v8.i5.436.


The aim of this paper is to report an exceptional case of multiple internal exostoses of the ribs in a young patient affected by multiple hereditary exostoses (MHE) coming to our observation for chest pain as the only symptom of an intra-thoracic localization. A 16 years old patient with familiar history of MHE came to our observation complaining a left-sided chest pain. This pain had increased in the last months with no correlation to a traumatic event. The computed tomography (CT) scan revealed the presence of three exostoses located on the left third, fourth and sixth ribs, all protruding into the thoracic cavity, directly in contact with visceral pleura. Moreover, the apex of the one located on the sixth rib revealed to be only 12 mm away from pericardium. Patient underwent video-assisted thoracoscopy with an additional 4-cm mini toracotomy approach. At the last 1-year follow-up, patient was very satisfied and no signs of recurrence or major complication had occured. In conclusion, chest pain could be the only symptom of an intra-thoracic exostoses localization, possibly leading to serious complications. Thoracic localization in MHE must be suspected when patients complain chest pain. A chest CT scan is indicated to confirm exostoses and to clarify relationship with surrounding structures. Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery can be considered a valuable option for exostoses removal, alone or in addiction to a mini-thoracotomy approach, in order to reduce thoracotomy morbidity.

Keywords: Chest exostoses; Chest pain; Multiple hereditary exostoses; Ribs exostoses; Thoracoscopy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports