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Pectus Excavatum Correction

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Here is what to expect during your child’s surgery at CHKD.

The Day Before Surgery

  • Your child will get blood drawn for lab tests.
  • Do not allow your child to eat or drink anything after midnight.
  • You will be given a prescription for a sleeping tablet for the night before surgery, if needed.

The Day of Surgery

  • Your child will receive a sedative 30 minutes before going to the operating room.
  • Your child will be under general anesthesia (asleep) during the operation.
  • Your child will receive pain medications through an intravenous line (IV) during surgery.
  • The IV will remain in place to give fluids and medicine until your child leaves the hospital.
  • A small plastic tube (foley catheter) will be placed in your child’s bladder after he is asleep to drain urine. This will remain in place until the next morning.
  • Two small incisions will be made for each bar, one on each side of the chest. This is where the metal bar will be placed under the breastbone. Another small incision will be made on the right side of the chest. This is where a small camera will be inserted to allow the surgeons to see inside the chest cavity as they guide the bar from one side of the chest to the other.
  • A flat surgical bar that has been curved to fit your child’s chest will be placed under the breast bone and rotated to “pop out” the depression. The bar usually needs to stay in place for two to four years. There are no stitches on the outside, just small paper bandages (Steri-Strips).
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After the Surgery

  • Your child will first go to the Post Anesthesia Recovery Unit (PACU) after surgery and then to a room on a nursing unit.
  • Your child will receive several different medicines to relieve pain. These medicines are given both through the IV as well as by mouth. Your child may also be prescribed a “PCA” (patient controlled analgesia) to help with pain control. Drowsiness is a common side effect.
  • Your child may have ice chips and sips of fluid immediately after the operation. Food will be added to your child’s diet gradually. As soon as your child’s appetite returns and there are no problems with nausea or vomiting, he/she will get a regular diet food tray.
  • X-rays will be taken on the first and third mornings to check your child’s lungs and make sure that the bar remains in good position.
  • Your child may begin to sit up in bed, as soon as he/she is ready. Remind your child to keep the back straight while sitting.
  • The bladder catheter is usually removed on the morning after the operation.
  • Constipation is a common problem for patients who are receiving narcotic pain medications. To help prevent this, your child will receive a stool softener and a suppository.
  • A physical therapist will help get your child up to walk the first day after surgery. The therapist will teach your child how to move without moving the bar.
  • Your child will need to do a lot deep breathing and use the incentive spirometer. He/She will also need to get up out of bed and walk as much as possible. This will help breathing return to normal.
  • Your child will be able to move around a little more every day. As soon as he or she is able to move and walk around without problems and no longer requires IV pain medication your child will be able to go home.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.

Reviewed: 03/2010