Nuss Center

(757) 668-7703

Home Of The Nuss Procedure

If your child has been diagnosed with pectus excavatum or funnel chest, pectus carinatum, or any other chest deformity, turn to the world-renowned experts at CHKD's Center for Chest Wall Reconstruction, where thousands of parents have trusted their children's care.

A Leader in Chest Wall Reconstruction

Here, your child will have access to our team of pediatric surgeons, nurses and medical specialists who pioneered the Nuss Procedure, now considered the gold standard for the surgical treatment of pectus excavatum. Thousands of parents have trusted their children’s care to CHKD.

CHKD has performed more pectus excavatum surgeries than any facility in the United States and remains a major training site for surgeons and a center for research on chest wall deformities.

The Nuss Procedure

The Nuss Procedure is a minimally invasive surgical procedure in which two small incisions are made on each side of the chest to allow the surgeon to insert the stabilizing bar. A third incision is made in which a small camera is inserted that allows the surgeon to see inside the chest wall.

The stabilizing bar is placed under the breastbone to correct the depression in the chest. The bar is generally removed between two to four years after the procedure and can be completed on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia.

This minimally invasive approach means reduced operating time, minimal blood loss, and a quicker recovery. In fact, most children return to school in a few weeks and resume normal activity after about a month. The Nuss procedure was developed by pediatric surgeon Donald Nuss at CHKD in the late 1980s. Through almost three decades of experience and research, Dr. Nuss and his colleagues have refined the procedure, improving outcomes and the lives of our patients. Dr. Nuss is now retired but his team continues to make advancements in the treatment of this condition. 

Nuss Procedure Before and After Slideshow


Nuss Procedure for Pectus Excavatum


Vacuum Bell treatment

The Vacuum Bell is a non-surgical treatment option for patients diagnosed with pectus excavatum and CHKD’s Dr. Robert Obermeyer has been instrumental in bringing this technology to the U.S.

While this procedure is non-surgical, it should be used under the supervision of a pectus excavatum specialist because underlying cardiac conditions can make the device dangerous. Shaped like a doughnut, the Vacuum Bell is fitted to each patient and sits comfortably on the chest. A bulb is attached to the device to remove air pressure and create a vacuum which raises the sternum.

The Vacuum Bell must be used about an hour a day and slowly pulls up the depressed area of cartilage. It takes approximately three to six months of use to reach the maximum correction. It takes roughly two years to make the correction permanent.

Nuss Procedure Center Location

(757) 668-7703

Dr. Robert Kelly Explains The Nuss Procedure

Dr. Donald Nuss, creator of the Nuss Procedure

U.S. News and World Report sat down with Dr. Donald Nuss (pictured) to discuss his revolutionary method of correcting pectus excavatum.


For Spanish-speaking patients

Contact us in Spanish, En Espanollunes a viernes entre las 8:00 a.m. y las 4:30 p.m. at (757) 668-9323