Test Findings
 

Rib Fractures

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Overview

  • The chest x-ray often reveals old or new rib fractures, however x-rays have poor sensitivity for diagnosing rib fractures and these may often be missed. The diagnosis is usually made clinically or with further imaging as appropriate.
    • Interpretation

    • Acute rib fractures - visible fracture line with no periosteal reaction or callus; may be displaced
    • Old rib fractures - periosteal reaction, loss of fracture line definition or callus formation may be present; may be angulated
    • Causes of Rib Fracture

    • Trauma - blunt, penetrating, CPR
    • Pathologic fractures - solid organ malignancy, multiple myeloma
    • Stress fractures - athletes, repeated coughing
    • Examples

    • Multiple right-sided rib fractures which are likely acute
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      Multiple right-sided rib fractures which are likely acute
       
    • Old right-sided rib fractures
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      Old right-sided rib fractures
       
    • Old right-sided rib fractures
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      Old right-sided rib fractures
       
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