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Pectus Excavatum Correction Discharge Instructions

(757) 668-7000


Your child has undergone surgery for the correction of pectus excavatum or sunken chest. Your child now has a a steel bar that goes across his/her chest. The bar usually stays in place for about two to four years. This bar is stable as long as you and your child remember to follow these instructions:

  • Your child will need to take it easy for the first four to six weeks after surgery.
  • No karate, judo, gymnastics, or contact sports for the first three months.
  • Avoid heavy lifting for the first two months.
  • No backpacks for three months.
  • Walking is excellent exercise and should be done frequently to build up your child’s strength. Your child should begin walking as soon as you arrive home.
  • After the operation and for the first month at home, remind your child to bend at the hip, do not slouch or slump down when sitting. Good posture will help keep the bar in place.
  • Your child will need to sleep on his/her back the first four weeks after surgery.
  • Your child may bathe or shower on the fifth day after surgery.
  • Paper Band-Aids (Steri-Strips) on the incisions will slowly come off as your child bathes or showers. They can be completely removed after 7-10 days.
  • CPR can be performed if it is needed. Compressions will need to be delivered with more force because of the steel bar.
  • Defibrillation for cardiac arrest may be performed if needed. Front to back defibrillation pad placement is necessary while the bar is in place.
  • You will be given an application for a medical alert bracelet at discharge. The bracelet will alert Emergency Medical Services personnel and other healthcare providers about the steel bar. This will let them know to push harder during compressions and to place defibrillation pads correctly.
  • If your child is scheduled for a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) exam in the future, inform the radiologist that your child has a pectus bar. An MRI can usually be done with the bar in place if the radiologist adjusts the MRI equipment settings.

Call the Doctor if any of these problems develop:

  • Fever (temperature greater than 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Persistent coughing (does not stop)
  • Chest pain, especially with deep breaths
  • Redness, drainage or swelling at the incision sites under the arms
  • Any breathing difficulties
  • Any injury to the chest that could have caused the bar to move

Your child’s incision site will need to be checked by the surgeon three weeks after surgery. Please make the appointment with the surgeon before your child is discharged by calling (757) 668-7703. Out of town patients need to schedule a three week follow-up appointment with their primary care physician.


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: 10/2013

(757) 668-7000