Pectus excavatum is a congenital deformity of the chest wall that causes several ribs and the breastbone (sternum) to grow in an inward direction.
Usually, the ribs and sternum go outward at the front of the chest. With pectus excavatum, the sternum goes inward to form a depression in the chest. This gives the chest a concave (caved-in) appearance, which is why the condition is also called funnel chest or sunken chest. Sometimes, the lower ribs might flare out.
Can Pectus Excavatum be treated?
When treating Pectus Excavatum, the patient can choose between two treatments: an invasive surgery labelled the Nuss Procedure, or simply using a Vacuum Bell from the comfort of your own home. Vacuum Bells are a safe, easy, and less expensive form of treatment for Pectus Excavatum.
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The Nuss Procedure
- The surgeon makes two small cuts in the side of the chest.
- The surgeon places one or more steel bars behind the breastbone and attaches them to the outer edge of the ribs. The surgeon uses a tiny camera to get the bars in the right place.
- The surgeon turns the bars, raising the breastbone.
- A metal plate (called a stabilizer), sutures (stitches), or wire is placed to hold the bars in place.
Are There Any Risks From the Nuss Procedure?
There are risks with any surgery, including bleeding, infection, and problems with anesthesia.
Specific risks for the Nuss procedure include:
- pain that can last a month or more
- bars that move out of place
- fluid around the lung or a collapsed lung
- damage to the heart or lungs during surgery
- pectus excavatum that comes back