ComplicationsBy Mayo Clinic staff
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Unlike a cracked rib, a completely broken rib can injure blood vessels and internal organs. The risk increases with the number of broken ribs. Complications vary depending on which ribs have been broken. Possible complications include:
- Torn or punctured aorta. After a complete break in one of the first three ribs at the top of your ribcage, the sharp end of a broken rib could rupture your aorta or another major blood vessel.
- Punctured lung. The sharp end of a broken middle rib can puncture a lung and cause it to collapse.
- Lacerated speen, liver or kidneys. The bottom two ribs rarely fracture because they have more flexibility than do the upper and middle ribs, which are anchored to the breastbone. But if you break a lower rib, the broken ends can cause serious damage to your spleen, liver or kidneys.
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