Pectus excavatum repair - series

Normal anatomy

Pectus excavatum is a deformity of the front of the chest wall with depression of the breastbone (sternum) and rib (costal) cartilages

Normal anatomy

Indications

Repair of pectus excavatum may be recommended for:

  • improved appearance (cosmetic repair)
  • improved breathing (respiratory function)
Indications

Procedure

While the child is deep asleep and pain-free (using general anesthesia), an incision is made over the breastbone (sternum). The deformed cartilage are removed and the rib lining is left in place to allow re-growth of the cartilage. An incision is made in the sternum and it is repositioned. A rib or metal strut may be used to stabilize the sternum in normal position until healing occurs in 3 to 6 months. A chest tube may be placed to re-expand the lung if the lining of the lung is entered.

Metal struts are removed 6 months later through a small skin incision under the arm. This procedure is usually done as an outpatient.

Procedure

Aftercare

Hospitalization for 1 week is common. Vigorous activity may need to be restricted for 3 months.

Aftercare

Revision

Last reviewed 1/29/2013 by John A. Daller, MD, PhD, Department of Surgery, Crozer-Chester Medical Center, Chester, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

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