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Procedures in Pectus Excavatum Surgerydreamstime_6158001

Hi there and welcome back.

We’re going to go ahead and continue our blog series regarding pectus excavatum, one of the surgeries that we perform at our pediatric clinic. In our last couple blogs, we addressed what pectus excavatum is, how it forms, and what can be done about it. We also covered the issues that are associated with the abnormality and what can happen if the issue goes untreated.

When it comes to treating pectus excavatum, most cases will require surgery. While not all cases are bad enough to need surgery, oftentimes, the effects of not having surgery will persist and lead to other internal health issues. For some children, the need for surgery is simply cosmetic, but when you think about the ways a deformed physical appearance can affect a child’s mental growth and development, it seems just as necessary to get the pediatric surgery that’s necessary for fixing it.

Tests From Your Pediatric Surgeondreamstime_xxl_23222428

Once you have talked to your pediatrician about your child’s pectus excavatum, they will evaluate the gravity of the deformity. Your pediatric surgeon can determine if your child needs surgery by taking a physical exam of your child and by using the following:

  • An X-ray of the chest.
  • A CT scan of the chest.
  • An echocardiogram of the heart.
  • A stress test.
  • A pulmonary function test (breathing tests).
  • With blood work.
  • With an electrocardiogram (EKG).

If it is determined that your child is a candidate for surgery, they will suggest scheduling a pediatric surgery to begin repairs and recovery. There are two types of pectus excavatum surgery that can be performed.

A surgeon working in a small operating room with an assistant

Pectus Excavatum Surgery Types

  • The Nuss Procedure – With this procedure, a small incision will be made in the chest to allow the pediatric surgeon to see inside the chest with a laparoscopic camera. From there, two other small incisions will be made on both sides of the chest, where a curved steel bar will be inserted. After the bar is inserted, it will be fixed to the ribs on both sides of the chest to ensure stabilization. The purpose of this bar is to reverse the growth of the chest to be normal and grow outward. The bar will remain attached to the ribs for three years, at which point it will be removed with another surgical procedure.
  • The Ravitch Procedure – This pediatric surgery is very similar to the Nuss procedure, however, the first part of the procedure includes removing cartilage on the front of the breast bone. From there the steel struts will be placed across the chest and wired to the appropriate ribs on each side of the chest. This allows the chest bone to be elevated. Your doctor will determine how long it is necessary for the bar to stay in place.

dreamstime_xxl_13985899When your child is in need of pediatric surgery, it’s important that you educate yourself on the options and the procedures so that you can help you child in every way possible. If you should have any questions, be sure to bring them up with your pediatrician. If you notice that your child is suffering from the common side effects of pectus excavatum, be sure to contact your local pediatric clinic for an appointment for an evaluation today.

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