The feasibility of prioritizing surgical stabilization of rib fractures (SSRF) in patients with other injuries is unknown. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the timing and outcomes of SSRF between patients with and without non-urgent operative pelvic injuries.
In this retrospective observational study, all patients between 2010 and 2020 who underwent SSRF (SSRF group) and those who underwent SSRF and non-urgent operative management of pelvic fractures (SSRF + P group) were included. Demographics, injury characteristics, operative details, and outcomes were compared between the 2 groups.
Over 11 years, 154 SSRF patients were identified, with 143 patients in the SSRF group (93%) and 11 patients in the SSRF + P group (7%). Median number of rib fractures (7 vs 9, = .04), total number of fractures (11 vs 15, < .01), and flail segment (54% vs 91%, = .02) were higher in SSRF + P group. Median time to SSRF was similar (0 vs 1 day, = .20) between the 2 groups. Median time to pelvic fixation was 3 days in SSRF + P group and 8 out of 11 patients (73%) underwent SSRF prior to pelvic fixation. Median operative time (137 vs 178 mins, = .14) and median number of ribs plated (4 vs 5, = .05) were higher in SSRF + P group. There was no difference in SSRF-related complications, pelvic fracture-related complications from operative positioning, rates of pneumonia, or mortality between the 2 groups.
SSRF can be performed early in patients with non-urgent operative pelvic injuries without a difference in pelvic fracture-related complications, SSRF-related complications, pneumonia, or mortality.