Immediately After Surgery

  • Your child will need to take it easy for the first four to six weeks after surgery.
  • After the operation and for the first month at home, remind your child to bend at the hip and not to slouch or slump down when sitting. Good posture will help keep the bar in place.
  • Your child should begin taking daily walks as soon as they arrive home.
  • Your child will need to sleep on their back the first four weeks after surgery.
  • Your child may begin bathing or showering on the fifth day after surgery.
  • The paper bandages (steri-strips) on the incisions will slowly come off as your child bathes or showers. They can be completely removed after seven to ten days.

Months One to Three

  • No karate, judo, gymnastics, or contact sports.
  • Avoid heavy lifting.
  • No backpacks.

Important Related Health Matters

  • CPR can be performed if 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 magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)  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 call (757) 668-6877 to schedule an appointment before your child is discharged.

Out-of-town patients need to schedule a follow-up appointment with their primary care physician three weeks after surgery..

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician.