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July 1955

The Fractured Rib—A Significant InjuryAn Analysis of Seven Hundred Thirty Consecutive Cases

Author Affiliations

Flint, Mich.
From the Section for the Surgery of Trauma (Division of Thoracic Surgery), Hurley Hospital, Flint, Mich.

AMA Arch Surg. 1955;71(1):7-13. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1955.01270130009003

The fractured rib is often an injury of considerable consequence. Yet it is frequently neglected, especially when associated with other major trauma. More than 5% of the patients admitted to the section for the surgery of trauma at Hurley Hospital during the six-year period of this report presented such an injury. Textbooks give little consideration to this subject and imply that it is not significant. Christopher states: "All fractures of the ribs save compound ones and those accompanied by severe crushing injury of the chest and its contents may be considered as minor."1 As recently as 1940 Hinton and Steiner stated, "The paucity of the literature on fractures of the ribs in the past ten years is readily explained by the frequency of the fracture and the relative infrequency of complications."2

Because of the proximity of the bony rib cage to vital underlying organs complications tend to be

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