A radiation-induced rib fracture (RIRF) refers to occurrence of a rib fracture following administration of radiation to the a region close to a rib or within a path of a rib. They are considered a relatively common occurrence, especially after hypofractionated stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) 1. They can also occur with external beam radiotherapy to the breast.
They are not usually considered pathological fractures especially since the fractures occur in normal (i.e. non metastatic) regional bone due to osteoradionecrosis and weakening from external beam radiation.
There is an increased risk or occurrence if the primary tumour irradiated is close to the chest wall.
The diagnosis could be considered in the appropriate clinical context where there are rib fracture seen on follow up CT scans following external radiation to the thorax in the absence of surgery, trauma or metastases.
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