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The Nuss procedure is a surgery to correct severe pectus excavatum, a condition in which the breastbone (sternum) of the chest is caved in. Pectus excavatum is typically noticed at birth, and more than two-thirds of cases are diagnosed within the first year of life.
This procedure is considered less invasive than open-chest surgery because only a few small incisions (cuts) are needed.
The surgeon makes two small cuts in the side of the chest, places one or more steel bars behind the breastbone, and attaches them to the ribs' outer edge. This raises the breastbone. The chest reshapes after about two to four years. The bars are later removed.
Presbyterian Heart and Vascular Care has a team of highly-skilled surgeons who are using some of the most advanced techniques to perform this procedure. These techniques can improve recovery time, reduce complications and provide a quicker return to work and other daily activities.
Worsening of the chest’s appearance and the onset of symptoms, usually during puberty, may determine eligibility. Possible symptoms include:
The condition treated by the Nuss procedure is pectus excavatum.
To avoid discomfort due to constipation after surgery, start your child on a gentle laxative regimen two days before surgery.
Your child may be given an incentive spirometer (a device used to help keep the lungs healthy after surgery) to practice deep breathing exercises before surgery. Please have your child use the incentive spirometer twice daily as directed until the surgery date and upon returning home from surgery.
You will be given antiseptic wipes to clean your child’s chest the night before the procedure and the morning of surgery to help reduce the risk of infection.
The Nuss procedure has several steps:
The chest is fully reshaped after about two to four years. Then the surgeon removes the bars.
Even though the Nuss procedure is minimally invasive, your child will need pain medicine and rest after the surgery. He or she will need to stay home from school for about three weeks. It may take six months or more for your child to return to their regular activities.
For about six weeks after the surgery, your child should:
Your child should not play sports that could cause a chest injury (such as football, soccer, and baseball) until the surgeon says it's OK.