Single centre experience on short bar technique for pectus excavatum
Background: Pectus excavatum (PE) is the most frequent anomaly of the anterior chest wall. Before 2001, all patients in Denmark were referred to the plastic and reconstructive surgeon for implantation of a subcutaneous silicone prosthesis, because the modified Ravitch procedure was not used. Since 2001, all patients have been treated with a modified Nuss procedure, which today has become the gold standard for correction of PE.
Methods: From September 2001 to March 2016, 1,713 patients have been operated by a modified Nuss procedure using the short bar at Aarhus University Hospital with a male-female ratio 6:1. The median age was 16 years (range 7–58 years). All operations were done in general anesthesia with epidural analgesia and all patients were operated by the same surgeon. All patients were seen routinely 6 weeks after surgery and the bars were removed after 3 years.
Results: Patients were younger than 18 years in 1,109 cases (65%). The number of bars needed for optimal correction was one in 1,209 patients, two in 486 patients and three in 18 patients. The median length of bar changed from 11 inches to 10 inches during the study period. The annual number of procedures continued to rise during the study period [833 patients during the first 10 years and 880 patients in the last 6 years, though more patients received two bars in the later period, (34%) versus (24%)] and the proportion of patients older than 30 years increased from 7.7% to 10%. The average duration of the operation was 36 minutes (range 12–270 minutes) and did not change significantly during the study period, change in operation time which was around half an hour. The median postoperative hospital stay decreased over time from 6 to 2 days. There was no mortality.
Conclusions: The modified Nuss procedure with the short bar technique is effective for the correction of PE. The results are stable with a low rate of bar malrotations, and in may most cases can be done in less than an hour in experienced hands.