Long-term outcomes and satisfaction rates after costal cartilage resection for slipping Rib syndrome

James A Fraser, Kayla B Briggs, Wendy Jo Svetanoff, Shawn D St Peter
Journal of Pediatric Surgery 2021 January 27

PURPOSE: Slipping rib syndrome (SRS) is a challenging and underdiagnosed condition. We previously demonstrated the efficacy of costal cartilage resection for SRS and now report long-term follow-up of our updated cohort.

METHODS: Retrospective chart review with prospective telephone follow-up was performed for 30 previously analyzed patients and 22 new patients to elucidate risk factors for recurrence, discuss preoperative experience, current symptoms, postoperative course, and satisfaction.

RESULTS: From 2006-2020, 49 patients met inclusion criteria and underwent 67 operations. Eleven underwent re-operation for recurrence, with median time of 1.6 years [1.2, 2.6]. Median age of symptom onset was 13 years [11,14] while median age at diagnosis was 15.4 years [14, 16.7]. 29/49 (59%) patients were contacted, with median follow-up of 4.5 years [2.1, 5.7]. Twenty-one patients (72%) reported complete cure, 20 (69%) reported satisfaction 10/10, with 83% rating their satisfaction >7/10. Eleven patients (38%) were offered opioids for pain control prior to surgical evaluation. Patients with recurrence had residual or fused cartilage, hypermobile bony ribs, or both, at re-excision.

CONCLUSIONS: Costal cartilage resection is an effective treatment for SRS with high satisfaction rates and an appropriate consideration for patients who fail conservative management.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level IV; Case series with no comparison groups.

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