A new technology called MatrixRib, a Plate Osteosynthesis developed by DePuy Synthes CMF, has been used at the Golden Jubilee National Hospital in Scotland to help treat a patient suffering from a severe rib fracture.
New surgical equipment allows surgery to be performed on patients with significantly increased accuracy, stability and reduced trauma.
Golden Jubilee consultant cardiothoracic surgeon Alan Kirk said: "This is a fantastic development for thoracic in the Golden Jubilee and for the NHS in Scotland.
"MatrixRib actually uses technology which was originally designed for neurosurgery and has been modified to allow us to implant locking plates and screws to perform rib stabilisations and fixations with significantly increased accuracy and precision.
"Not only does this have the potential to improve patient outcomes, but it allows us to carry out complex procedures which are simply not available with traditional methods."
Rib fractures can be relatively straightforward and treated using pain management and bracing. In some instances, they can lead to complications, including prolonged pain and hospitalisations for individual, respiratory difficulties, disability and even mortality.
Surgical stabilisation of severe rib fractures can reduce the likelihood of these complications, and minimise trauma to the chest wall.
Golden Jubilee recently carried out its first stabilisation using this advanced technology on a patient who suffered a severe fracture more than two years ago.
Mr Kirk said: "The patient was in extreme discomfort as a result of the fracture and it was proving increasingly difficult to manage through pain relief.
"Traditional re-alignment had previously been attempted, but due to the severity of the fracture, had been unable to fully repair the damage which had been caused.
"Using this new technology however, we were able to re-align the individual’s ribs to a far greater degree and repair a large amount of the damage."
Patients will be monitored over an extended period of time. Following surgery, patients were experiencing dramatically reduced pain and discomfort, with no signs of complications from the surgery.