Pectus Excavatum is a deformity where the chest wall caves inward. The deformity is sometimes seen at birth but is more often seen with the onset of puberty. It occurs in 1 in 500 to 1,000 children.
Pectus Excavatum is not generally life-threatening, but is known to be a cause of shortness of breath, pain, exercise intolerance and decreased cardiac function. With correction of the deformity, the patient’s overall breathing, cardiac function, posture and appearance are improved.
Surgery is performed using 1 to 3 metal bars that elevate the sternum. This minimally invasive procedure is performed by making two small incisions on either side of the chest, and another small incision to insert a scope, which allows the physician direct vision throughout the procedure. With the aid of a tunneling instrument, a metal bar is safely inserted through one side of the chest and guided to the other. The bar is then rotated with the help of two bar flippers. The bar is secured to the ribs using heavy sutures to ensure it stays in place.
The chest is then totally corrected, and the lungs and heart now have ample space to function.
Medialab at Cincinnati Children’s
Animation: Jeff Cimprich and Ren Wilkey
Medialab Direction and additional content expertise: Ken Tegtmeyer, MD
Content Experts: Rebeccah Brown, MD and Victor Garcia, MD