How is pectus excavatum treated?
Mild cases of pectus excavatum may be managed with physical therapy and exercises that improve your child’s posture and the muscles of the chest, although the chest depression will not change.
Moderate to severe cases
In cases that are moderate to severe, your surgeon may recommend a surgical procedure that will help correct the deformity. There are two main types of surgery that are used to correct pectus excavatum:
- Nuss procedure: The most common procedure is the Nuss procedure. Your child will go to sleep with anesthesia and will not remember the procedure. The surgeon will make small incisions on either side of the chest and pass a metal bar underneath the breastbone. The bar will help move the breastbone to a more normal position. It will stay in place for two to four years, and then the surgeon will remove the bar. After the procedure, your child will stay in the hospital for several days for help with pain control and ensure that the lungs and heart have not been affected by the procedure.
- Ravitch procedure: Another option is the Ravitch procedure. Your child will go to sleep with anesthesia and will not remember the procedure. The surgeon will make an incision across the center of the chest and reshape the cartilage of the ribs. If needed, the surgeon may need to place one or several bars in the chest to correct the shape. These bars are removed in 6 to 12 months. The surgeon will also place one or more drains. Your child may also need a chest tube. After the procedure, your child will stay in the hospital for several days for help with pain control and ensure that their lungs and heart have not been affected by the procedure.
After either procedure, your child will have follow-up visits with the surgeon to ensure that they are healing well and their chest is responding appropriately to surgery.
Why choose us for the treatment of pectus excavatum?
The pediatric surgeons at Children’s Hospital Colorado are experienced in evaluating and treating pectus excavatum, both through surgery and through more conservative management. Our teams understand how pectus excavatum can affect your child physically and psychologically. We will walk you through the necessary steps of diagnosis and all the available treatment options. We will continue a relationship with your child in the following years to ensure that they respond well to treatment and have the best outcome possible.