Nuss Procedure FAQs
Find answers to the most commonly asked questions if you are considering the Nuss procedure for your child.
What steps do I need to take to have my child evaluated for the Nuss Procedure?
We request the following tests be completed before you schedule a surgical consultation:
- Diagnostic EKG
- Pulmonary Function Test (raw data)
- Cardiac or Thoracic MRI (Written report and on disc).
- If Cardiac MRI is not available in your area, please schedule a Thoracic CT Scan along with a diagnostic ECHO
- Metal allergy test. For specific allergy testing guidelines, please call the Nuss Center at (757) 668-6877
Your pediatrician or primary care physician can schedule these tests for your child at a convenient location. Please make sure you request a copy of the test results for your records. If your child has surgery at CHKD, we will keep their test results on file for future reference. If
you elect to have surgery at another facility, we will be happy to release the test results to you.
We also request that you complete the following documents and send them to us prior to your first surgical consultation:
How long does it take to complete testing?
Depending upon the availability of appointments, it can take one to two months to get all of the preliminary testing completed.
What is the best way to send the test results to you?
It is best to mail all of the test results to us yourself. You can send them either ground or air, but make sure the package is certified so that it can be tracked if lost. Information will take longer and arrive to us in "piece meal" fashion if sent to us by individual doctors and facilities. Please address all forms and testing to:
Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters
Pediatric Surgery-Nuss Center, 5th Floor
601 Children's Lane
Norfolk, VA 23507
Does my child need to see a cardiologist for the heart test, or can my child's pediatrician do the testing?
Since most pediatric offices do not have the specialized equipment, your child may need to see a cardiologist for interpretation. Please note we do not need the echocardiogram video, only the written interpretation.
After I forward all of my child's test results and paperwork, how long will it take to get the results back?
Once we receive all of the required test results and forms, a pectus coordinator will typically contact you within about a week. Please note, the doctor will not review your child's information until all of the information has arrived.
Can I bring my child to your hospital for an evaluation without having any testing done?
Yes, your child can come for a pectus evaluation without first having any preliminary tests. Keep in mind that having the studies to review ahead of time could save your family time and having to make an extra trip. ALL of the studies are required to determine the severity of you child's pectus deformity and whether they are a good candidate for the surgery.
Further, if you do not live in the area, it is beneficial to have the preliminary testing done prior to your arrival. Families that reside outside of the local area generally complete all required tests before their first visit to allow for a complete evaluation. This eliminates the need for a repeat visit before surgery.
Do you ever perform pectus corrective surgery on children younger than 6 years old?
We generally do not operate on children under six years of age, although there are some exceptions, therefore it is not necessary to have the testing done until it is time to have surgery. We will consider children under six only if it is determined that the pectus deformity is severe and that the child is developmentally mature enough to follow the post-op restrictions on physical activity.
Many younger children feel good within one week of returning home, but are unable to engage in rough physical activity for six weeks. This can be difficult to manage in an active, younger child that does not understand the consequences of not complying with post-op instructions.
Is my 19-year-old too old to have pectus corrective surgery?
No, your child is not too old to have pectus corrective surgery. Although we are a pediatric facility, we will operate on children up to 29 years of age. For adults past the age 25 years, prior approval from administration is required before scheduling surgery.
Is pectus correction ever an emergency?
No. If you child's symptoms are worsening, then you should begin the steps to have them evaluated and plan for surgery immediately, but correcting the chest is NEVER an emergency. This is a procedure that must be planned. Take your time. Prepare your family and your child for the procedure.
Will my child be able to participate in sports after the Nuss procedure?
We encourage our patients to maintain active and healthy lifestyles before and after the surgery. Three months post surgery, patients can return to competitive sports, however contact sports such as football, boxing, and wrestling, are discouraged.
If I decide to bring my child to have corrective surgery at CHKD, how long will I need to plan on staying in town?
You should plan on staying here for at least 10 days. A typical schedule is as follows:
- Day 1: Evaluation
- Day 2: Tour of the hospital, labs, a visit with the anesthesia team
- Day 3: Surgery
- Day 4-8: Hospital stay
- Day 9 or 10: Morning visit with the surgeon prior to returning home.
Learn more about travel and lodging while your child is in the hospital.
Can my child take a long car or plane ride home after the procedure?
Both driving and flying should be fine after your child is released from the hospital. If you have a long drive, try to schedule an overnight stay to break up the trip. If you are traveling by plane, arrange for wheel chair service at the airport and at each layover stop, should the need arise. Requesting bulkhead seats will also provide a bit more leg room and make your child more comfortable during the plane ride.
What do I need to do for the follow-up?
If you live out of state, you need to schedule a post-op visit with your child's pediatrician or primary care physician within two to four weeks of returning home. We will contact your child's healthcare provider and provide a comprehensive report of the procedure and what to look for at this visit.
If you live locally, you will return to CHKD for a post-op check up.
The next planned visits to CHKD are at six months, one year and at the two- or three-year anniversary to have the bar removed.