Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Rib Injury Treatment

Treatment for a chest injury includes rest, cold compresses, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain. A person with a chest injury tends to avoid deep breaths because of pain. However, deep breathing is important to reduce the risk for atelectasis and pneumonia. Thus, pain medication is important for those who are unable to breathe deeply because of pain. Severe chest injuries may result in multiple rib fractures or injuries to internal organs, such as the lung. Severe internal injuries may require oxygen therapy and surgery to repair damaged tissue.

The treatment for a chest injury may include:


For more information:

Rib Injury Questions For Doctor

The following are some important questions to ask before and after the treatment of a chest injury.

Questions to ask before treatment:

  • What are my treatment options?
    • Is surgery an option for me?
  • What are the risks associated with treatment?
  • Do I need to stay in the hospital?
    • How long will I be in the hospital?
  • What are the complications I should watch for?
  • How long will I be on medication?
  • What are the potential side effects of my medication?
  • Does my medication interact with nonprescription medicines or supplements?
  • Should I take my medication with food?

Questions to ask after treatment:
  • Do I need to change my diet?
  • Are there any medications or supplements I should avoid?
  • When can I resume my normal activities?
  • When can I return to work?
  • Do I need a special exercise program?
  • Will I need physical therapy?
  • What else can I do to reduce my risk for having this injury again?
  • How often will I need to see my doctor for checkups?
  • What local support and other resources are available?

Rib Injury Specialist

Physicians from the following specialties evaluate and treat a chest injury:

Continue to Rib Injury Home Care

Last Updated: Jun 6, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Rib Injury References
  1. Aihara R, Millham FH, Blansfield J, Hirsch EF. Emergency room thoracotomy for penetrating chest injury: effect of an institutional protocol. J Trauma. 2001 Jun;50(6):1027-30. [11426116]
  2. Ferguson M, Luchette FA. Management of blunt chest injury. Respir Care Clin N Am. 1996 Sep;2(3):449-66. [9390891]
  3. Nagy KK, Krosner SM, Roberts RR, Joseph KT, Smith RF, Barrett J. Determining which patients require evaluation for blunt cardiac injury following blunt chest trauma. World J Surg. 2001 Jan;25(1):108-11. [11213149]
  4. Sartorelli KH, Vane DW. The diagnosis and management of children with blunt injury of the chest. Semin Pediatr Surg. 2004 May;13(2):98-105. [15362279]
  5. Wanek S, Mayberry JC. Blunt thoracic trauma: flail chest, pulmonary contusion, and blast injury. Crit Care Clin. 2004 Jan;20(1):71-81. [14979330]
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