Slipping Rib Syndrome: A review of evaluation, diagnosis and treatment

Lisa E McMahon
Seminars in Pediatric Surgery 2018, 27 (3): 183-188
Slipping rib syndrome (SRS) is an under-diagnosed cause of intermittent, yet often debilitating lower rib and abdominal pain. SRS is caused by a hypermobility of the anterior false ribs that allows the 8th -10th ribs to slip or click as the cartilaginous rib tip abuts or slips under the rib above. Pain occurs from impingement of the intercostal nerve passing along the undersurface of the adjacent rib. Studies consistently find patients reporting months to years of typical pain symptoms, unnecessary tests and procedures prior to diagnosis. SRS is a clinical diagnosis, but dynamic ultrasound can be helpful for confirmation or diagnosis in difficult cases. Resection of the slipping rib cartilages is the mainstay of treatment, with good results for pain relief. Rib stabilization is an emerging option for recurrent symptoms.

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