lump on rib

Lump on the rib: causes, treatment, and what you need to know

14 May 2024

Discovering a lump on your rib can be worrying, that’s why it's important to understand the possible causes and available treatment options. In this article, we'll explore what could be causing the lump on your rib and provide information about how it can be treated.

Possible causes of rib lumps

  1. Lipoma: A lipoma is a non-cancerous growth made up of fatty tissue. These lumps are usually painless and can develop beneath the skin, including on the ribcage.
  2. Cyst: Rib lumps can also be caused by cysts, which are sac-like structures that form due to infections, blockages, or trapped keratin. They can contain fluid or semi-solid material and vary in size.
  3. Rib fracture: Trauma or injury to the rib can result in a fracture or break. Lumps may form due to bone displacement or the formation of a callus during the healing process.
  4. Enlarged lymph nodes: Infections, inflammation, or underlying medical conditions can cause the lymph nodes to enlarge. If a lump on the rib is associated with enlarged lymph nodes, it may be accompanied by symptoms like fever, fatigue, or tenderness.
  5. Tumour: Although less common, a lump on the rib could be caused by a tumour. Tumours can be either benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). It's important to seek medical evaluation to determine the nature of the lump.


Treatment options for rib lumps

The appropriate treatment for a lump on the rib depends on its underlying cause.

Here are some common options:

  1. Observation: If the lump is benign, such as a lipoma or cyst, and not causing any discomfort, your healthcare provider may recommend monitoring it over time.
  2. Medications: Infections or inflammation causing the rib lump can be treated with appropriate medications, such as antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs, to reduce its size and address the underlying cause.
  3. Surgical removal: If the lump causes pain, grows rapidly, or there is suspicion of malignancy, surgical removal may be necessary. This procedure involves removing the lump and sometimes a portion of the surrounding tissue, which is sent for further examination.
  4. Fracture management: If the lump is a result of a rib fracture, specialised treatment is required. Pain management, rest, immobilisation with a brace or splint, and physiotherapy may be recommended to aid healing and restore range of motion.
  5. Cancer treatment: If a lump on the rib is determined to be cancerous, treatment options may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of these, depending on the type and stage of cancer.

Discovering a lump on your rib can be worrying, so it's important to seek medical advice straight away and understand the potential causes and treatment options.

Early intervention and professional guidance are key to achieving the best possible outcome.

Information provided and reviewed by the AXA Health 24/7 health support line team, for members.

Source and further reading:

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