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Pectus Excavatum Bar Removal & Discharge Instructions

Pectus Excavatum surgery is done to correct the depression of the sternum (breastbone). Once the surgery is done there is a steel support bar in place under the sternum. This bar helps to support the chest while growing occurs and remains in place for three years. The surgery to remove the bar is done as an outpatient procedure and most children can go home the same day. What to expect when having the bar removed:

The Day Before Surgery

  • Your child may need to have special breathing tests
  • Your child cannot have anything to eat or drink after midnight

The Day of Surgery

  • Your child will be asleep during the operation
  • Your child will have an IV to give fluids and medicine
  • The incisions to remove the bar will usually be in the same place that was used to insert the bar. There are no stitches on the outside, just small paper Band-Aids (steri-strips).
  • A local anesthetic (numbing medicine) is used at the incision sites. This will help decrease the amount of pain after the operation.
  • A chest x-ray will be done after the bar is removed.

After Surgery

  • Your child will be admitted to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU).
  • Your child will have an IV for pain medication until he/she is awake enough to take liquids.
  • Ice chips and sips of fluids will be given once your child is awake and able to swallow without problems.
  • If there are no problems with the chest x-ray and your child is awake and comfortable, then your child can be discharged from the hospital.
  • A prescription for pain relief medication is given to the parent. This medication may be needed for 2-5 days.
  • Your child may bathe two days after surgery.
  • Your child may return to normal activity without restrictions 10 days after surgery.
  • Your child may return to school, day-care, camp, or work within several days.
  • Pectus Excavatum posture and deep breathing with breath holding exercises still need to be done twice a day.


  • Fever
  • Persistent cough
  • Chest pain, especially with deep breaths
  • Redness, drainage or swelling at the incision sites
  • Any breathing difficulties

Follow-up Appointments 

  •  A follow-up appointment in two to three weeks with your primary care physician to check the incision to check the incision site is optional.
  • Patients need to return one year after bar removal to check that the chest is growing normally and to check that the lungs are functioning normally.

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: 12/2017

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