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Family Physician
Family Physician, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 12816
Experience:  Emergency Medicine and Family Practice for over 26 years
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Patient has ribs 7,8,9,10 broken. One rib has ...

Resolved Question:

Patient has ribs 7,8,9,10 broken. One rib has punctured left lung. There is fluid and blood in chest cavity. CT scan shows a good third of lung obstructed and one broken rib bone puncturing the left lung. What is the proper procedure now? Will fluid/blood absorb? What happens with the protruding rib?
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Family Physician replied 9 years ago.
At this point he will likely need to have a chest tube inserted (tube thoracostomy) - this procedure allows the physicians to drain the blood, keeping the lung inflated while the punture in the lung heals.

The ribs will heal on their own, and unless there are multiple free fragments - typically surgery is not required for the rib fractures. The ribs will heal on their own over about 4-6 weeks, depending on the age/nutritional status of the patient.
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Customer: replied 9 years ago.
At ten days past the puncture would the blood be congealed? Will a tube drain it?
How does the rib heal when it is protruding into the lung?
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
At ten days past the puncture would the blood be congealed? Will a tube drain it?
How does the rib heal when it is protruding into the lung?
Expert:  Family Physician replied 9 years ago.
If this occurred 10 days ago, and the person is stable, they may not need a tube, but yes, the blood can drain (the tube is connected to suction), although there way be some scar tissue which may keep portions of the clot from draining properly.

Without looking at the X-ray of the rib - I can't say what may need to be done, but YES, in most cases they heal rather quickly.
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