Sunken Chest Treatment

1 decade 10 months 5 days ago Sunday, August 19 2007 Aug 19, 2007 Sunday, August 19, 2007 10:09:20 PM CDT August 19, 2007 in News

It's not just cosemetic, but a serious health problem. Sunken chest, or petus excavatum, is a condition where ribs develop abnormally and the sterum is pushed back putting dangerous amounts of pressure on the heart and lungs. University Hospital has started a new surgical procedure to help correct it and one bar is making all the difference.

That bar is replacing the traditional way of correcting sunken chest. It is called the nuss technique and it is safer than previous techniques. Dr. Ramachandran has placed ten of these bars.

"With the new procedure we are trying to make a smaller incision right in the breast bone we make it in the sides. We use help from technology to put a small camera inside the chest cavity so we can identify where the bar is going," said Dr. Venk Ramachandran, Pediatric Surgeon.

The pectus bar is placed in patients and tailored to give a more natural look and then kept there for two to three years.

"We believe it is like braces, when you put them on there is a tendency to take it off too soon then it can reform and give you deformity again," said Dr. Ramachandran.

The old procedure caused a lot of blood loss and a big incision. With the nuss technique it is minimally invasive and recovery time is quicker.

"Before I had the procedure, a lot of the symptoms that showed up were shortness of breath when I was doing exercising stuff and just appearance," said Patrick Vining, patient.

Vining is one of Dr. Ramachandran patients. He says he's seeing great results.

"Cosmetically, after the procedure it has shown a lot of improvement and breathing is a lot easier than it was, it's not great, but it is a lot easier than it was," said Vining.

Sunken chest effects one out of every one thousand people and is much more common in men. The healing process for the nuss technique takes three to six months versus a year or more with the older surgery.

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