View Full Version : Damn Rib Hump!

10-04-2003, 08:09 AM
I'll cut to the chase....I HAVE A HUGE RIB HUMP!

It bugs me when I lay down, sit down, lean against something, etc. I want it to be less visible to reduce pain and so I can feel better about myself. I think my surgeon has the wrong idea, he wants me to wait a while (April 2004) until I get to see if again. He wants me to recover from my operation, which was in August 2002, and wants to see if I still want surgery to help it.

The thing is he thinks I want it fixed because I hate the look of it, and he's right, that is part of the reason. But having it there is uncomfortable. Can you imaging feeling the springs in your matress press against only one part of your back, ouch!

The surgery we are (mainly he) is considering is "pure cosmetic" surgery to help reduce the look of my rib hump. Apparently there will be a LOT of pain but I am prepared. I've already suffered the pain of a broken rib and my first scoliosis surgery, don't think that I'm not prepared for this. Has anyone gone through this, or anything similiar?
Does anyone actually have a rib hump??

10-04-2003, 11:17 AM
Hi Jessica,

The procedure you're talking about is called thoracoplasty. People who have had it vary in their accounts of just how painful it is. It's hard to say, because most people have thoracoplasty at the same time as their spinal fusion, so their whole back hurts after surgery and it's hard to pinpoint whether the pain is from the ribs or the spine, or both. Some say the pain isn't better or worse in the area where the ribs were resected (cut), while others say the pain lingers for much longer than the pain in the spine.

Whatever the pain experience is, thoracoplasty generally works well at reducing a rib hump significantly. I had this done at the time of my fusion, and it reduced my hump approximately 90%. The level of correction you get depends in large part on how straight the rest of your spine is. If you still have a significant scoliotic curvature, you're not going to get a major reduction in your hump's prominence. You should ask your surgeon just how much reduction he thinks he/she will get.

You should be aware that there are some common side-effects that accompany thoracoplasty. The most important one is that most people experience temporarily reduced pulmonary function. In short, you can't take as deep a breath, you may become winded more easily, etc. I found that I just couldn't hold my breath very long for a few months postoperatively. It can take as long as 2 years to completely restore normal lung function.


10-04-2003, 12:03 PM
Hi Jessica...

I've found that some doctors do very few thoracoplasties, while others do them all the time. You might want to get a second opinion from a surgeon who has a lot of experience in this procedure. In what area do you live?


10-04-2003, 05:25 PM
Hi, I'm new here....I have a question. What exactly is a rib hump? I have 2 humps, one is right at my right shoulder blade, and the other is my left hip...so what is a rib hump?

10-04-2003, 07:11 PM
Hi Scarlett...

The upper right hump you mention is almost certainly a rib hump. You can see a picture of one here:

The lower right hump is also probably a rib hump, but could actually be your spine if you have a very severe scoliosis.

Rib humps are caused by the spine and ribs rotating.

You can see a picture of a rib hump here:



10-05-2003, 09:14 AM
DaveWolpert -
Thanks for the information. Glady appreciate it. When I had my operation I had an anterior release and posterior fusion (with 2 rods placed to keep the fusion secure) but my lower spine was a gamble if it'll increase or not.

My upper curve was 95 (and now is 48)
My lower curve was 70 (and now is 49)

My next appointment is April next year - I think I've already mentioned that - and it's such a long wait!

LindaRacine -
If he's already talked about it with me I'm sure he'll do it. Afterall he is meant to be one of the best in Australia.
I also don't think my parents want a second oppinion because that = $$$

scarlett03, LindaRacine explained pretty well what a rib hump was.

This is my back about 5 months before surgery:
(click here http://home.villagephotos.com/2003-6/12643/before-back.jpg)

This was taken about 3-4 days after surgery. Notice the swelling compared to the next photo:
(click here http://home.villagephotos.com/2003-6/12643/2days-after.jpg)

And this was taken about 2 weeks after surgery:
(click here http://home.villagephotos.com/2003-6/12643/2weeks-after.jpg)

Hopefully they work!

10-08-2003, 12:46 AM
Hi Jessica,
Wow! Those pictures are fantastic and your back looks great. I also have a rib hump on my right side, but I am now awaiting revision surgery, and I really can only think that far right now. I will most likely not have the extra surgery for my hump, I just want to get thru revision and try to have a life again! If you do decide to have the surgery, I sure wish you all the luck in the world. (You're a lot younger than I am, and if I was your age and not facing what I am now, I might think of the thorocoplasty differently than I now do.)

Keep in touch and let us know what you decide and good luck, Jessica, in whatever you do!

Be safe and God Bless,

10-20-2003, 03:18 PM
Hi Jessica!,

Since I'm new to this site but not to scoliosis or the 'hump' I can totally sympathise with you!. I have marfan's syndrome and my scoliosis was detected when I was 12. I had my first operation fairly soon after the diagnosis less than 4 months if I remember (I try not!). I do remember having to take 3 months off school and being bored out of my brain its amazing what you do remember!.

The operation, rods to lower spine was hailed a complete success I gained a few inches but unfortunately that didn't last long!. By the time I was 17 I was still in great pain and it was decided since I'd stopped growing it was a good time to fuse the top part of my spine the damage it would become apparent later had already been done!. Not as traumatic as the first operation it to was successful but since I'd done most of my growing by then and the human body isn't designed to support a curved spine mine had to make room hence the hump which is still with me to this day!.

By this time I'd got used the idea I was different but tried not to let it bother me. Trouble was despite all the surgery I was still having intense pain and nothing helped. It was discovered that two of the wires attaching the top rods had started to come undone and fluid had begun to collect. So another operation was on the cards this time to remove the said rods.

I had a new surgeon this time who was I was told well versed with the condition trouble was he couldn't seem to decide what he wanted to do. He decided to try a plaster cast for a short time(big mistake!), then he figured he'd remove all the rods and replace them with one long rod. This sounded like a great idea he aid it would limit mobility but I can't bend at the hips anyway so I said fine.

I had the operation when I was 21. Afterwards I found out much to my dismay that he had taken out the upper rods that were causing the problem but he wasn't able to remove the lower rods since they had embedded in my spine since they's been there for about 10 years and if he'd tried to remove them I would have been in a wheelchair.

I was in shock for quite a while until it dawned on me that having gone through all the trauma of a third operation medically speaking I was no further forward then I had been before the second operation and I still had the hump by which time being naturally slender in any case was quite pronounced!.

Since then I've learnt to live with it no revisional surgery was ever suggested to me though I have enquired from time to time but it gets harder to cope with the same answers every time let the doctors try living with scoliosis for a week see how they cope!.

I still suffer from pain in the same places so how could it have been the rods in the first place?. I admit its okay most of the time but even if I'm having a pain free day it is still there to remind me how can I possibly forget it?.

Mom in Chicago
10-20-2003, 11:39 PM
My daughter is having surgery to reduce two thoracic curves and the surgeon is planning to reduce the rib hump during the same surgery. It sounded like this was his normal procedure. He is hoping for a 60% reduction of the rib hump and the curve. Also, he said he would be taking the bone graft from her ribs, which would also help reduce the rib prominence.

I hope you find a good surgeon who will help you.

11-13-2003, 05:54 PM
Thank you for posting those pictures of your rib hump. They could have been taken out of my own photo album. I am 52 yrs old, and had 3 surgeries. I had a thoracoplasty in 1974 which was one of the first done in the Hosp for Special Surgery in NYC. It helped a bit, but not much at that time. And in the past couple of years, my hump seems to be shifting and enlarging. I hate it so much but what can you do. You must live with it. I wish someone out there had a good suggestion for purchasing clothing - tops that don't curve and cling to the shoulder blade and rib hump. Any healthy young people out there debating whether or not to go forward with a procedure that might reduce the hump - do it. You have your whole life ahead of you, and you will always wonder what might have been different had you gone ahead now when you are able. On the flip side, we don't see too many fellow scoliosis patients in our every day life, and I know we all feel akward and out of place at times, but in some ways, it can be a bit of a blessing by letting us know who our true friends are and who really cares about us for ourselves. Things could be alot worse. When I was in the Hospital for my first surgery in l964, there was a beautiful girl with a terrible curve getting surgery just like me. Just like me except that, in addition, she only had one arm. Anyway, if anyone has a clothing suggestion, let me know. Take care.

11-15-2003, 12:42 PM
How great and brilliant it would be if I could create a line of clothing for scoliosis sufferers. I've thought about it awhile, but have absolutely no idea how to do it! but, its a great idea.

11-15-2003, 01:12 PM
As a child, my father took me to a dressmaker who took a sleeveless tee-shirt & added padding on the opposite side of my hump to fashion out some sort of bathing suit. But my hump was so prominent that it only made me feel like I had two humps instead of one. One thing in purchasing tops that I've found is to look for those with banded bottoms instead of straight bottoms. That way I can blouse them out without them clinging as much. But I guess there aren't any magic clothes styles for us. But baggy is definitely better for me. Luckily, in my office I can wear whatever I want, so sweatshirts come in handy.
Maybe we can all settle on a particular clothing manufacturer or major outlet like Walmart and all or us email them explaining the value of a limited line of scoliosis user-friendly clothing. If they receive a lot of requests, maybe they will consider us a new market to sell to. If there's anyone who works in or knows someone in the clothing manufacturing business, let us know . (Anybody know Oprah!). Has Oprah ever had a show re: scoliosis? None that I know of. By the way, has anyone seen the TV commercial where "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" is running away from the townspeople who are chasing him. He runs back into his church for safety, and when he gets up to the bell tower, he rips off his shirt and instead of a hump it's a box of Cheez-Its crackers that he's hiding, and that's why the townspeople were chasing him. At first I felt it was degrading (felt the same about the Disney movie) but you know, it really was clever and made me chuckle at the end. You know the saying, "whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger". Well, you just gotta laugh sometimes.

02-03-2004, 06:17 AM

I had my ribs cut inthe middle to reduce my rib hump about 5 years ago. they cut five ribs and i have to say i have no regrets the hump was reduced considerably. My right shoulder blade protrudes more than my left but it looks like i just have one big shoulder blade and a physio told me i could improve this if i build up the muscle under neath my shoulder blade.

I would just say it is a painfully operation more so than the fusion i would say but with the right pain medication and time about 2 months to recover.You will be fine.It is well worth it.


03-02-2004, 02:25 PM
Hey Jessica,

I understand what you're saying 100%!! I had my surgery in 2001, L5-T1. Before my surgery my hump was HUGE. But after I had surgery, it was nearly GONE. I was so excited, but as I recovered from the surgery my hump slowly came back, only to about half of what it was. (The doc said it's normal for that to happen). But I'm still self concious about it, and sitting in desks at school, or against any firm surface is irritating (sometimes I even carry around a little pillow class to class). I didn't even know you could have a thoracoplasty (sp?) but after the pain of the first surgery I guess I'm going to just live with the hump.
In those pictures, the before and after is amazing. Your hump is hardly noticable. You're beautiful!

People always say that they would never notice if I hadn't told them about it... I'm sure it's the same case with your rib hump. It's so great to hear that someone is experiencing the same thing.

Keep us up to date on what you decide to do about your hump.

All the best!
lisanicole :D

P.S. I think the scoliosis clothing line idea is SWEET. If you ever do anything with that you'll definitley have me as a customer.

03-02-2004, 05:57 PM

Your back looks so good! I'm happy for you. How old are you? Are you currently in pain?

Funny how clothing was brought up. Today I went clothes shopping and while I was trying clothes on (this dressing room had a double mirror), I couldn't believe how big my rib hump was. I wish I hadn't seen it because now I don't want to wear any of the clothes I have. Oh well. God made me this way for a reason.

Does anyone have a problem wearing dresses or shirts with a small dip in the center. Dresses never look right on me. They hang strangely and the zipper way off center. I'll have to stick with skirts, I guess. Today I found out that shirts with a small dip in the center, aren't centered at all on me. We all need a custom clothing company.


Ann Bean
03-19-2004, 12:35 PM
This is re: clothes and rib humps. I have found a top in a catalogue called J.Jill. The website is www.jjill.com. It is a button-front shirt which they call thier signature shirt. It has an elliptical hem (longer in the back than the front) and an inverted pleat in the back, which makes it fuller and soft. They are $29 for petites and misses, and $35 for women's. I love it. It is a soft cotton, which looks great ironed, but I also pull it out of the dryer as soon as I think it is dry and wear it like that. It has a collar you can wear up or down. Although nothing is going to make the hump disappear, I think this looks nice. I always look for tops with a softness in the back, a hem that looks like it's meant to be worn out, and side vents. Yes, I do get sick of wearing these tops. I am small and love little t-shirts, etc. The flip-side is I am in very little pain right now, even though I have some flatback symptoms and may need revision surgery. Good luck!

10-23-2004, 07:44 PM
Hi All,

Well its a year later then when I last logged onto this site and told my story about living with the hump. Having reread some of the replies has given me fresh hope that this time something might get done about my hump!.

I recently had an appointment with a new surgeon as the pain in my back has been getting worse over these last months despite it being a good 8 years since the upper rods were removed from my spine. It turns out he's not so new as he was trained under my old surgeon doh!. Fresh x-rays were taken of my spine and neck as it had been 3 years since I'd seen anybody and he reckons my spine is fine the fusion worked and it was right to take the rods out as apparently they stop being effective after a year or so when the spine has fused and apart from some minor deteriation of my lower neck there was nothing to worry about yeah right so why am I now on morphine to try and control the pain?.

I have a follow up appointment with him next week so I'm going to hit him with the possibilitily of doing thoracoplasty surgery to try and reduce the hump in the hope that might help reduce the pain and make life a bit more comfortable. If he says my spine is fine and this type of surgery was never offered to me afterall these years he can only say no right?.

On the homefront a lot has changed I now have 2 cats instead of one and a fiance!. We are getting married on my 30th birthday next march and he's been the best support to me over the last few months and I couldn't imagine doing any of this without knowing he will always be there.:)

08-08-2005, 10:01 PM
it wouldn't let me go to your pictures so i don't know how severe your rib hump is but i have never really seen pictures as severe as my own. i've had it all my life and have found a few strategies to make it easier. shirts with hoods are awesome. they don't have to be sweatshirts, i have the cutest tight little shirt from the gap with a hood on it. they work wonders. also now they have a lot of cropped coverups out this fall. some hang funny and off to one side but one's that have an enclosure to keep them close to the body are great. also tight dresses don't work, but spaghetti strap ones that are not too tight in the hips i have found look alright. i also wear my hair long to cover it up. i've found lately however that working on making my body the best it can be is more beneficial. even though i have twelve fused vertebrae, they have held the fusion for thirteen years, so i can still do situps and other excercises. i found that working on staying fit and building muscle tone is rewarding and makes me feel like i'm doing something postive for my body. i'm seriously considering a thorocoplasty next summer so this will be excellent prep for my lungs as well.

08-08-2005, 11:15 PM
Dancerchick15, you are so right about wearing hoodies and excercising. I had my surgery many years ago, but I also exercise and love hoodies. I find 100% cotton dressy t-shirts generally fit nicely across my back. The current brand which I prefer is Michael Stars. The shirts come in various sleeve lengths and colors. They are rather pricey and available at Bloomingdales and comparable stores. I find that darker colors are more forgiving than lighter colors. Wearing black is not a problem for me, since I am a middle aged east coast suburbanite (with Harrington rods and a 49 degree thoracic curve after correction). Slightly tapered or looser fitting jackets might also be attractive in heavier fabrics, such as denim, corduroy, leather or suede. Slacks are difficult to fit for most women, so I have no recommendations, except for lots of patience and sticking with a store or brand which was successful in the past. Trial and error is the only way to know, but if you find something particularly attractive, buy more than one if your finances will allow it.
P.S. Will there be a scoliosis online fashion show?

08-09-2005, 07:42 AM
i have a rib hump on the right hand side i haven't actually seen it before but i stand to one side sort of lean to one side and my head and neck are sort of more too ne side of my sholders i stand on a slant and its very painfull.

08-09-2005, 08:01 AM
Since we're on the subject of clothing...
After surgery, when one is recovering what is the best type of clothing to wear? I'm a jeans-type gal- when will that be possible? How long after surgery? Also bras? I will possibly be getting a/p surgery in the spring.


08-20-2005, 12:56 AM
As a mother of a post surgery (with healing complications) scoliosis dtr I would like to say I think any of you with a rib hump are beautful and your back is unique and says alot about who you are and your strength as a person.
I almost feel sorry for those ignorant or imature people who can't accept beauty for more than one level.
Everyday I am thankful (even with her rib hump) her back is beautiful to me.
I know you all are young and looks are important now but just realize their are people outthere that see what a beautiful person you are inside..with a rib hump or not!!

08-23-2005, 11:27 PM

You are so right! My parents always told me I was U-NEE-Q and made me feel like every single thing about me was special. Sometimes they say they may have nourished my self-esteem too much, but in the end, it allowed me to be comfortable with who I am - long legs, short waist, crooked breasts, slow gait, and all! I also found a WONDERFUL spouse who thinks my "pointy butt" is very sexy. :p If it weren't for all those years in a Milwaukee brace, I don't think he could say that!

Your daughter is so fortunate to have a mom that reminds her that beauty truly comes in many forms. We should all celebrate our imperfections as they make us who we are. They also help us to keep things in perspective and recognize the value of the significant things in life...like unconditional love.

You have brought a huge contented smile to my face. Thank you for sharing your words of wisdom.


09-15-2006, 04:18 PM
My chest is really bugging me just the appearance really my breast bone its nothing major but i get paranoid and wondered if there is any tpe of surgery which can help correct it or any chest padding i cud wear basically its uneven ... Thx

Diana Black
09-29-2006, 03:02 PM
Funnily enough, I find the same clothes that make my hump look HUGE in white and pale colours I can get away with in black and other dark colours. Even tight black T-shirts seem to almost magic it away. Stripes, on the other hand, are a disaster! :D