So this is thoracotomy recovery? SS is a 61 year old woman who had a portion of her lung removed due to lung cancer 6 years ago. To get there, the doctor’s did what’s called a thoracotomy, or a procedure where the chest wall is opened by cutting between the ribs. Like many patients who undergo the surgery, her body never completely healed after the surgery and her ribs hurt. When I first saw her in October, she had failed physical therapy and dry needling and her initial ultrasound showed that she had quite a hole in the tissue between the ribs where the surgeons went in to resect the cancerous lung tissue. Since this never healed, the question was would an injection of her own highly concentrated blood platelets heal this area? We injected platelets (Regenexx-SCP Procedure) that were 14 times more concentrated than her blood (most little bedside machines can only get to 2-5X as concentrated as blood), under exacting ultrasound guidance into the tissue around the hole. Seen above are her before and after ultrasound images. You can see the ribs marked and the hole between the ribs caused by the surgery in the dotted white line. The after images show no hole (other than a small area in the below after image). In addition, the thickness of the fascia holding the ribs has increased.
The upshot? We’ve seen many patients respond with rib pain through the years from either thoracotomy or it’s cousin sternotomy (used in open heart surgery). This was an interesting one because of the obvious tissue destruction on the ultrasound, most of which can no longer be found in the areas injected.