Surgeons demonstrate new minimally invasive technique to correct chest deformity

March 26, 2010

A new minimally invasive surgery to correct a chest wall deformity -- often known as pigeon chest -- was demonstrated Friday at an international conference attended by surgeons from the U.S., Canada, Argentina, Chile, Panama, Puerto Rico, Germany, Spain and Russia.

Technically known as pectus carinatum, the condition causes the chest wall to protrude outward, giving the patient's chest the appearance of the breast of a bird. In years past, the only surgery to correct severe cases was extremely invasive and involved cutting open the chest to remove excess cartilage. Because of the invasive nature of the surgery, the condition often went uncorrected.

"For many years, the medical community treated pectus carinatum as a merely cosmetic issue," said Dr. Robert Kelly, a at CHKD. "Pectus carinatum causes real physical and for young people. We want physicians to understand that this condition should be treated. No child should have to suffer with it."

The new surgical technique was developed in South America by surgeons trained in a minimally invasive technique developed by CHKD pediatric surgeon Dr. Donald Nuss to correct pectus excavatum, a related condition that causes the chest to protrude inward.

The "Nuss technique" involves passing a curved bar inside the chest cavity, below the rib cage, to push out the indentation from underneath. After a period of time, the bar is removed and the chest grows normally.

In South America, where the outward protrusion is more common, surgeons developed what some doctors call a "reverse Nuss" in which the bar runs beneath the musculature, but above the ribs, pushing down the protruding section of cartilage. Again, the bar is removed after the condition is corrected.

During the conference, Dr. Kelly operated on a pectus carinatum patient, demonstrating "reverse Nuss" procedure, while one of the technique's pioneers, Dr. Patricio Varela of Santiago, Chile, offered narration.

At the same conference, CHKD's team of pediatric surgeons, physical medicine physicians and physical therapists demonstrated another device that, in the majority of the cases, can correct pectus carinatum before it becomes so rigid that surgery is required.

The new dynamic compression brace, also developed in South America where pectus carinatum is more common, can be calibrated to exert the exact pressure needed to correct the condition in the same manner that braces straighten crooked teeth.

Dr. Marcelo Martinez-Ferro of Argentina explained the history of the dynamic compression device, including the role of Drs. Nuss and Kelly in its development, and brought up four patients to the conference room to demonstrate how to use the new dynamic compression brace.

"Both of these techniques are major advances in correction of pectus carinatum," said Dr. Nuss.

At present, CHKD -- home to the nation's top chest deformity research and surgery program - is the only hospital in the nation where these techniques are used.

The techniques were demonstrated at the 8th International Nuss Conference, part of CHKD's mission to promulgate the newest and best techniques for correcting chest wall deformities to surgeons around the world.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Drug therapy from lethal bacteria could reduce kidney transplant rejection

August 3, 2017
An experimental treatment derived from a potentially deadly microorganism may provide lifesaving help for kidney transplant patients, according to an international study led by investigators at Cedars-Sinai.

Exploring the potential of human echolocation

June 25, 2017
People who are visually impaired will often use a cane to feel out their surroundings. With training and practice, people can learn to use the pitch, loudness and timbre of echoes from the cane or other sounds to navigate ...

Team eradicates hepatitis C in 10 patients following lifesaving transplants from infected donors

April 30, 2017
Ten patients at Penn Medicine have been cured of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) following lifesaving kidney transplants from deceased donors who were infected with the disease. The findings point to new strategies for increasing ...

'bench to bedside to bench': Scientists call for closer basic-clinical collaborations

March 24, 2017
In the era of genome sequencing, it's time to update the old "bench-to-bedside" shorthand for how basic research discoveries inform clinical practice, researchers from The Jackson Laboratory (JAX), National Human Genome Research ...

The ethics of tracking athletes' biometric data

January 18, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—Whether it is a FitBit or a heart rate monitor, biometric technologies have become household devices. Professional sports leagues use some of the most technologically advanced biodata tracking systems to ...

Financial ties between researchers and drug industry linked to positive trial results

January 18, 2017
Financial ties between researchers and companies that make the drugs they are studying are independently associated with positive trial results, suggesting bias in the evidence base, concludes a study published by The BMJ ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.