Pectus Excavatum Treatment
Adults and children with pectus excavatum have a number of treatment options available at the UPMC Esophageal and Lung Surgery Institute.
Those with the mildest cases of deformity can benefit from physical therapy aimed at improving posture and appearance of the chest, avoiding surgery. People experiencing symptoms, or those with moderate to severe deformity, may need surgery.
Minimally invasive surgery — Nuss procedure
At UPMC, our team of thoracic surgeons uses the minimally invasive Nuss procedure to treat pectus excavatum.
UPMC thoracic surgeons typically employ this video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery procedure when correcting pectus excavatum on adolescent and adult patients.
What to expect during the Nuss procedure
Using this innovative, minimal access technique:
- The surgeon will insert a curved steel bar, called the Pectus Bar, under the breastbone (sternum) through two small incisions on either side of the chest.
- The steel bar corrects the curvature of the chest.
- The surgeon then affixes the bar to the ribs on each side.
Each person receives a steel bar that fits his or her individual chest curve.
The bar remains inside the chest for at least two years and is not visible from the outside. When it's time, the doctor will remove the bar in an outpatient surgical procedure.
Traditional open chest surgery
Surgeons typically use traditional surgery to correct pectus excavatum in adults whose symptoms have become severe, or whose deformity negatively impacts their desire to participate in social activities that may expose the chest area.
Compared to the Nuss procedure, open chest surgery comes at a greater risk and has a longer recovery time.
Contact the UPMC Esophageal and Lung Surgery Institute with questions or for more information.
Or, call the Thoracic and Foregut Surgery Division at 412-647-7555.