Pectus excavatum may be surgically repaired if you have moderate to severe symptoms including the shape of the chest.
Physical therapy for mild cases
Patients who have mild symptoms may be helped by physical therapy. Certain exercises can improve posture and increase the degree to which the chest can expand.
Surgical treatment of pectus excavatum
If you have moderate to severe pectus excavatum with physical symptoms and serious cosmetic effects, we often recommend surgery.
After a pectus excavatum surgery most patients experience:
- Less chest pain
- Easier breathing
- Better blood circulation
- Normal looking chest
- Ability to do sports activities
- More confidence and improved quality of life
Age limit for pectus excavatum surgery
The best results are achieved when the surgery is performed once the pubertal growth spurt is underway or completed. If repair is done before puberty, there is an increased risk of recurrence during adolescence. Adults also have benefitted from pectus excavatum repair.
Pectus excavatum operation types
The two most common types of surgeries used to correct pectus excavatum differ by the size of the incisions made. The surgeon can either choose the open repair (Ravitch Procedure) or the minimally invasive repair with a metal bar (Nuss Procedure).
The vast majority of the patients with pectus excavatum are candidates for the Nuss procedure. However, the decision for the patient to undergo a Ravitch or Nuss procedure will be determined by the surgeon.
At Aleris-Hamlet Hospitals Dr. Pilegaard primarily uses the Nuss procedure.
Read also the article comparing the Nuss procedure and the Ravitch procedure