CAROMONT HEALTH SURGEONS FIRST IN NORTH CAROLINA TO PERFORM MINIMALLY INVASIVE PROCEDURE
New Surgery Promises Shorter Recovery and Less Pain for Some Rib Fractures
Recently, Dr. Graydon Stallard and Dr. Anthony Raspanti of CaroMont Surgical
Associates became the first surgeons in North Carolina to perform a minimally
invasive procedure to repair a patient’s fractured ribs. Performed
at CaroMont Regional Medical Center in Gastonia, the innovative surgery,
called Thoracoscopic Assisted Rib Plating (TARP), became only the eighteenth
case in the world after its recent approval by the Food and Drug Administration.
Used to treat rib fractures that could benefit from surgical stabilization,
TARP allows surgeons to implant a permanent steel band on the inside of
the rib cage. The band stabilizes the fracture and allows the broken bone
to heal quickly.
“Until this new procedure was introduced, the management of most
rib fractures had been pain management,” Dr. Stallard explained.
“Because your rib cage is affected by breathing, your bones move
with every inhalation and exhalation. When you have a broken rib, it is
incredibly painful because your body is essentially trying to heal a moving
target. It can take several months for a patient to get back to normal,
and that means several months of pain and limited range of motion. This
new procedure is going to make a significant difference for patients.”
Traditional rib plating surgery was available before TARP but required
surgeons to make a large incision to completely expose and treat the broken
bone. This very invasive approach carries a higher risk of surgical complications,
such as infection and bleeding. Because of this, it was reserved as a
last resort to stabilize critically injured patients.
“It’s an injury that trauma surgeons often discuss because,
historically, there has not been a good solution.” Dr. Stallard
explains. “Imagine you’re the sole bread winner for your family.
Imagine living with this pain, not being able to work, and worse, the
only relief is to rely on pain medication for months. Most rib fracture
patients actually become chronic pain patients. In consideration of the
opioid crisis in our county, I’m always looking for ways to reduce
unnecessary exposure to narcotic medications.”
TARP finally offers surgeons and their patients a solution to a problem
that, previously, did not offer many definitive options for medical intervention.
Now, it takes just three small incisions and a small amount of muscle
disruption to insert and affix the metal implant to the inside of the
rib cage. The implant is permanent and holds up the fractured rib much
like an architectural truss, creating a support system that immediately
addresses the issue and relieves much of the pain associated with normal
breathing and movement.
“It’s so exciting because our patients will have shorter hospital
stays and less dependency on pain management,” said Dr. Stallard.
“It can help get them back on their feet and back to living their