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Normal anatomy:

Pectus excavatum is a deformity of the front of the chest wall with depression of the breastbone (sternum) and rib (costal) cartilages


Normal anatomy


Indications:

Repair of pectus excavatum may be recommended for:

  • improved appearance (cosmetic repair)
  • improved breathing (respiratory function)

Indications


Procedure:

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.


Procedure


Aftercare:

Hospitalization for 1 week is common. Vigorous activity may need to be restricted for 3 months.


Aftercare



Review Date: 5/15/2008
Reviewed By: Robert A. Cowles, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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