Pectus excavatum is a deformity of the front of the chest wall with depression of the breastbone (sternum) and rib (costal) cartilages
Repair of pectus excavatum may be recommended for:
- improved appearance (cosmetic repair)
- improved breathing (respiratory function)
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.
Hospitalization for 1 week is common. Vigorous activity may need to be restricted for 3 months.
Review Date: 11/15/2009
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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