What are some complications of broken ribs?

Many injuries can cause a lot of pain, but one that is particularly bothersome is a broken rib. Fractured ribs can cause great pain with every breath or movement. Sometimes, they can create complications that threaten your life.

Broken ribs are relatively common after a car crash. You might break ribs from the force of the collision and the restraint of the seat belt, for example. In truth, when people say their ribs are broken, those ribs are just cracked. Truly broken ribs are extremely dangerous.

Ribs that have been broken into separate pieces can damage major blood vessels and organs. The lungs may be in danger of being punctured, too.

Complications from broken ribs can include issues such as:

  • Punctured or torn aorta
  • Punctured lung
  • Lacerated kidneys
  • Lacerated liver
  • Lacerated spleen

How is a broken rib diagnosed?

Broken ribs are diagnosed with the use of computerized tomography scans (CT scans), X-rays, bone scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests. These tests can also be used to find out if other parts of the body have been injured internally as a result of the rib(s) breaking.

Once diagnosed, your medical provider will set up a treatment plan. For cracked ribs, you should see a full recovery within around six weeks. You may need to restrict your activity during that time. For more serious injuries, surgery may be necessary to repair torn blood vessels or damaged organs.

If you are hurt in an accident and suffer from broken ribs, they can take a toll on your life. Your attorney will help you seek compensation so you can focus on recovering.


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