Pectus Excavatum

Pectus excavatum is generally repaired in one of two ways. The traditional approach involves a long incision across the chest to remove the deformed cartilage. The sternum is then moved forward and secured in the corrected position with metal struts. This operation takes about four hours to complete.

Another approach involves inserting a stainless steel "pectus" bar through a Band-Aid size incision on each side of the chest. The pectus bar is inserted through one of the side incisions and placed under the sternum, moving it forward. The bar is then secured to the chest wall. This operation takes about one hour.

In both operations, all stitches are placed under the skin. These stitches dissolve, so no stitches are removed after the operation. Your child's incision will be covered with small bandages.

With an open or traditional repair, the metal struts are removed a year after insertion. A pre-surgical visit is required. Removal takes about an hour and is performed as an outpatient procedure, so you can return home with your child the same day.

With minimally invasive repair, the pectus bar or bars are removed two years after insertion, in an outpatient operation that takes about an hour. Please arrange a visit to our office one year after the struts or bar was inserted and then again at two years, just prior to removal.

Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.

Related Information

UCSF Clinics & Centers

Orthopedic Clinic
1825 Fourth St., Fifth Floor, 5B
San Francisco, CA 94158
Phone: (415) 353-2967
Fax: (415) 353-2299
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Surgery Clinic
1825 Fourth St., Fifth Floor, 5B
San Francisco, CA 94158
Phone: (415) 476-2538
Fax: (415) 476-2929
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