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how long for fractured rib to heal?

jendrey's picture
jendrey
Posts: 377
Joined: Sep 2009

After a nuclear bone scan and a CT scan I had an awful scare where it was suspected the cancer had spread to my ribs.

A few x-rays later... but before the results of the x-rays I was first grilled about falling, excessive coughing, car accidents, pain, etc, (and I do mean GRILLED!) it was determined that I have a fractured rib. Now, you'd think a fractured rib would hurt, it doesn't. But, than again I have a very high threshhold for pain.

The only thing that I can think of that would've even possibly caused it might, maybe, be the expander/implant exchange surgery. But that was way back in November. Other than that I'm at a total loss as to how it could've happened. I'm not looking to blame anyone, I'm just racking my brain to figure it out! =)

So, what do you guys think...would a fractured rib have healed by now if it had happened from surgery in November?

MAJW
Posts: 2515
Joined: May 2009

The radiologist reading the x-rays, I would think, would have a pretty good educated guess as to how "old" the fracture is....many years ago my mom
Had a fractured rib from coughing due to her illness....she had a good deal of pain from it....really nothing they could do for it, either...she was wrapped like a mummy with ace bandages, until it healed....several months with the pain easing with the passage of time....

CypressCynthia's picture
CypressCynthia
Posts: 4017
Joined: Oct 2009

I don't want to scare anyone, but fractured ribs were the way my bone mets presented. I broke 2-3 ribs for no great reason in 2005. At the time, I thought I may have fractured them due to lifting boxes after Hurricane Katrina. Metastasis was not really on my radar because I had been in remission for 22 years.

It took 4 years after I fractured the ribs before I finally got the diagnosis. And I had had a bone scan, CT, PET and markers done in 2006 just to be on the safe side--all initially negative.

In 2009, after worsening rib pain, one radiologist read a new bone scan as bone mets and we did my markers again and this time they were very elevated. A rib biopsy confirmed the diagnosis: bone metastasis from breast, same old breast cancer from 1987.

My intention is not to frighten you but just want you to be vigilant. Ribs do not usually fracture for no reason and ribs are a common metastasis site for breast cancer. Also, initially rib metastasis pain will come and go, but will eventually get much worse.

You may just have a fractured rib from some unknown reason, but do have this rib checked from time to time--especially if it begins to hurt.

CypressCynthia's picture
CypressCynthia
Posts: 4017
Joined: Oct 2009

A radiologist explained to me that the reason that they finally knew it was mets on scans years later is that a normal fracture would have healed by then. So have it checked from time to time to make sure it is healing like a normal fracture. Hope this helps! And I am praying that you don't have mets, but just have a weird fracture.

jendrey's picture
jendrey
Posts: 377
Joined: Sep 2009

I appreciate your insight, very much so. Ever since my aunt died this past September I really have no one to go to with these type of questions. She had 4th stage breast cancer.

Ritzy's picture
Ritzy
Posts: 4384
Joined: Aug 2009

I don't know how this could have happened. I would think someone would be able to tell from your tests. Just hope you feel better soon and your rib heals.

Sue :)

NJMom10
Posts: 176
Joined: Oct 2010

Although it's rare, radiation therapy can cause fractures. My radiation oncologist told me this. I don't know if you had radiation or not, but if so, it's possible that this is what caused it.

jendrey's picture
jendrey
Posts: 377
Joined: Sep 2009

Yes, I also had radiation therapy. I doubt very much that my radiation oncologist would ever, ever, admit such a thing as yours did. He refused to even admit the blisters and moist desquamation--which were only in the radiated area--were as a result of the radiation treatment.

Thanks to all! =)

MAJW
Posts: 2515
Joined: May 2009

On all the consent forms that I signed, before rads,stated any and all known side effects that radiation can cause...one was rib fractures and numerous others, the worst was..."radiation can cause late term effects for as long as ten years, including cancer...." I'm having problems right now,18 months after rads....due to it....

Cancer and it's treatments are like the gift that keeps on giving...lol

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