Nuss Center Testimonial - Schrader

Patient Rebekah Schrader says she "felt like family" at CHKD's Nuss center 

Just weeks after having the Nuss procedure at CHKD, Rebekah felt compelled to share her experience with others. Read more about her experience and what she wants you to know about the care team at CHKD. 

"The staff at CHKD was wonderful. I always felt welcome. I never felt different."

Well known for their expertise in chest wall deformities, pediatric surgeons at CHKD offer vacuum bell treatment as an alternative to surgery for patients with pectus excavatum.

CHKD patient William Light was diagnosed with pectus excavatum at just four years old. In this video, he shares how vacuum bell therapy helped him avoid surgery and correct his pectus excavatum.

William says he felt welcome and loved from the moment he first met the care team at CHKD’s Nuss Center. “The staff at CHKD was wonderful ... I always felt welcome. I never felt different,” William said.

To learn more about the vacuum bell, call CHKD's Nuss Center at (757) 668-6877, or e-mail

"Dynamic Compression Brace Treatment is Worth It"

Former Nuss Center patient Alyssa Testa was diagnosed at an early age with pectus carinatum, a condition that causes the sternum and ribs to protrude outward. The condition may cause breathing and stamina issues and can have a psychological impact on the patient as well. 

As one of the first patients to choose dynamic compression brace treatment back in 2010, Alyssa says this non-surgical approach not only accommodated her busy lifestyle, but it also improved it.

For anyone considering this treatment option, Testa says to trust the process and have patience. The long-term results and improvements to quality of life are worth it.  


Grateful Patient Says Nuss Procedure Changed his Life 

Meet former Nuss Center patient Chris Baione. Chris is grateful for the care he received from the world-renowned pectus experts at CHKD. He says having the Nuss Procedure at CHKD not only improved his physical health, but he finally gained the self-confidence and the self-esteem he needed to live a happy, active lifestyle.

Patient Family Thankful for the Wonderful Care they Received at CHKD’s Nuss Center

Effortless, easy, and always so kind. That’s how mom Janice Healy describes her family’s experience with the care team at CHKD’s Nuss Center.

Hendrix Healy - Nuss Patient TestimonialWith a noticeable dip in his chest and complaints of getting tired and easily winded during exercise, 15-year-old Hendrix Healy’s pediatrician referred them to the Nuss Center at CHKD where he would be diagnosed with pectus excavatum.

Janice says from their first appointment at the Nuss Center to their most recent interaction, pediatric surgeon Dr. Franklin Margaron has been completely professional and meticulously thorough. He involved Hendrix every step of the way and answered all their questions – no matter how many. At each appointment, Dr. Margaron’s professionalism, knowledge, and demeanor reassured her she was in the right place for her son’s care.

Hendrix underwent the Nuss Procedure at CHKD in March 2023. Now nine weeks post-surgery, Hendrix is doing great and often comments about how amazing his chest looks.

Incredibly pleased with the care they received, Janice took the time to share the following letter of gratitude with our staff:
Hendrix Healy (2) - Nuss Patient Testimonial “I just wanted to take a moment to express my sincere gratitude for Dr. Margaron (Dr. M) and staff at the Nuss Center. My son just recently had two bars placed under his sternum to correct his pectus excavatum. From our very first appointment at the Nuss Center with Dr. M, to our most recent, every interaction has been completely professional and surprisingly thorough. Dr. M involved my son completely every step of the way and genuinely wanted to know his concerns and took his time explaining everything and answering any and all questions (no matter how many) never becoming impatient. As a parent, that was really reassuring.

Just recently (post-op), I contacted his office (as soon as they opened) and left a message about a concern I had. An hour later, staff called me and asked if I could bring my son in and Dr. M would have a look (like WOW). Dr. Margaron always makes time, he truly cares and it shows through his work ethic and dedication to his patients.

Additionally, the staff at the Nuss Center has been simply great, always pleasant and attentive. Whether I call and leave a message, send an email, or needed forms completed for my son’s school, someone always responds, if not the same day the very next day. Every interaction is friendly and professional (which is rare).

Through all of the appointments, the various tests, the surgery, the hospital stay, and the post-op appointments, CHKD has been absolutely wonderful. So, THANK YOU for making EVERYTHING so effortlessly easy and for always being so kind.” – Janice Healy (Hendrix’s Mom)  

First Female Nuss Patient Reaches Out to Personally Thank Dr. Donald Nuss, says "I've had zero issues"

Pectus Patient Allison DePrioAllison DePrio was just a few years old when her parents noticed her chest had a dip in it that seemed deeper than other kids’ sternums.

Allison, now 38, remembers she could put toys in the little puddle of water that collected in her chest when she was floating in a bathtub or swimming pool.

A pediatrician said she had a condition called pectus excavatum, a congenital wall deformity in which several ribs and the sternum grow abnormally, making the chest look as though it is sunken.

At 4 years of age, Allison was referred to CHKD surgeon Donald Nuss, who would eventually become known world-wide for correcting the deformity.

That was in 1988, just two years after Dr. Nuss had started using a procedure in which he inserted a curved metal bar under the ribs and sternum to reshape the chest wall. The bar, which was inserted through two small incisions on either side of the chest, would stay in place about two years, and then be surgically removed in the same way.

At the time, it was still experimental. But Allison’s parents didn’t like the sound of the alternative, which was a much more invasive reconstruction of the chest wall that kids spent weeks recovering from, and that didn’t always have good results.

So they agreed, and Allison became part of an early cohort of patients that would lead to the “Nuss Procedure” becoming the gold standard across the globe for correcting the condition.

She remembers the bright lights of the CHKD operating room. The watermelon flavor of the anesthesia. The kind, calm, soft voice of Dr. Nuss, whom she instantly liked as a child.

The bar was removed two years later, when Allison was 6 years old. She never had a problem with the condition again, and lives an active life hiking, horseback riding, and fishing. Allison, now a math technology developer in Afton, is thankful her family lived in Virginia Beach, and that Dr. Nuss was nearby to save the day.

 “I’ve had zero issues, and I attribute that to him. I was extremely fortunate to have Dr. Nuss and his brilliance right in my back yard.” 

Nuss Procedure "100 Percent Worth It," Pearson Ehrich, 17

Pectus Patient Pearson EhrichPearson Ehrich loves playing soccer, but when he was in 7th grade, he found himself struggling to breathe during practices and games.

Medical tests showed the Park City, Utah, teen had pectus excavatum, a condition in which his breastbone was sunken into his chest, which was crowding his heart and lungs. 

His parents set about researching the best hospitals for corrective surgery, and learned about the internationally known Nuss Center at CHKD. This is where the “Nuss Procedure,” a minimally invasive approach to correcting pectus excavatum was developed, in which surgeons insert a curved metal bar under the ribs and sternum to reshape the chest wall.

Pearson traveled across the country to CHKD for the surgery in 2017, and returned in early 2020 to have the metal bar removed. He’s now 17, and pleased with the results.

“The surgery was 100% worth it,” Ehrich said. “It took some sacrifice, but without a doubt, it turned out better than my other options. Not only did I feel healthier, it gave my lungs and heart significantly more room to operate. I was able to breathe so much easier, and the procedure instantly changed my physical abilities. I felt a massive difference in my endurance while playing soccer. I was able to run for much longer periods of time.”

Learn more about his experience and what he wants you to know about the procedure in this blog - Nuss Procedure: Tips from the Patient Perspective.