Minimally Invasive Pectus Excavatum Repair
Pectus excavatum is when the breastbone sinks in. Repair of your child’s breastbone will be done using the Nuss Procedure. This involves placing a metal “pectus bar” to help reshape the chest wall. A 2 inch incision is made on each side of the chest. There is little blood loss. Your child will stay in the hospital for about 5 days. The bar will remain in place for 2 to 3 years. The breastbone will then be strong enough to keep its new shape. The bar will be stable as long as your child follows the limits below.
- Your child should take it easy for the first 6 weeks after surgery.
- Walking is a great way to build up strength. It should be done often.
- For the first month at home, your child should not bend at the hips. No slouching or slumping when sitting. Good posture will help keep the bar in place.
- Your child should follow the prescribed exercises and start when advised.
- No school for 2 to 3 weeks. Your child may go back sooner if he feels well enough.
- No lifting more than 5 pounds for the first 2 months. This includes heavy backpacks.
- No karate, judo, gymnastics or contact sports (even in gym).
- Your child may shower 3 days after surgery and may bathe 1 week after.
- Paper steri-strips on the incisions will slowly come off as your child bathes or showers. They can be removed after 2 weeks. Do not pull them off before 2 weeks.
- Do not put ointments, powders, or creams on the incision sites.
- After healing, use SPF 30 sunscreen on the scars when out in the sun for at least 1 year.
We expect that your child will have pain. It is vital that your child take pain medicine as prescribed to keep the pain under control.
Your child may eat what he chooses. Eating healthy foods promotes good healing.
Your child should wear a MedicAlert bracelet or necklace. It should read: “surgical steel bar in place under sternum.” You can order one from the address listed below.
MedicAlert Foundation International
2323 Colorado Ave. / Turlock, CA 95382
800-432-5378 / www.medicalert.org
When to Call
Please call if you notice any of the symptoms listed below.
- Fever above 100.4° F, taken by mouth, for two readings taken 4 hours apart
- Chronic cough
- Any trouble breathing
- Chest pain, especially with deep breaths
- Pain not controlled by medicine
- Any trauma to the chest that may cause the bar to move
- Redness, swelling or pus at the site
- Increased bleeding from the incision
If you have questions or concerns, please call:
Monday-Friday 8:00am-4:30 pm: (608) 263-9419
After hours and weekends: (608) 262-0486. Ask for the pediatric surgery resident on call. Leave your name, child’s full name, and phone number with area code. The doctor will call you back.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 06/06/2012
Copyright © 06/06/2012 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6046
Print Health Fact For You