The mortality rate of chest injuries sustained during work or in road accidents stands now at 15-20%. The considerable force of the impact in road accidents is, in 60-80% of the cases, responsible for chest injuries which involve not only the chest wall but also the lungs. The extent and course of the lung damage must be assessed by repeated X-ray examinations, blood gas analyses and clinical observations. The decision to intubate and apply artificial ventilation should be made at an early stage. Fracture of a single rib needs only pain killers. If a rib is broken in several places or if several ribs are fractured instability of the chest wall is apt to develop in 15-20% of the cases. It manifests itself in paradoxical breathing and ensuing increase in the dead space. These cases require prompt "internal pneumatic splinting" in the form of positive pressure respiration and intubation. In recent years surgical stabilization of the chest wall has regained favour. Plate osteosynthesis, screw-less rib plates, self-gripping steel plates and steel splints are being used (Brunner, Hofmeister, Koncz). Primary osteosynthetic stabilization of the chest wall is indicated only if artificial ventilation has proved inadequate and there are other reasons for performing a thoracotomy. In these circumstances surgical intervention ensures that prolonged artificial ventilation and its attendent risks and complications and the demands made on the nursing staff are reduced to a minimum.