Article Abstract

Pectus excavatum repair from a plastic surgeon’s perspective

Authors: Anton H. Schwabegger


Minimally invasive repair of pectus excavatum (MIRPE) or similar procedures for pectus excavatum (PE) repair, nowadays no longer performed by one single speciality, may not always achieve sufficient aesthetic results, particularly in the infrapectoral or infraxiphoidal region. Reasons for this include the diaphragm inhibiting correct positioning of the bars, as well as asymmetric deformities which may still be present after remodelling attempts. Furthermore, some cases develop a mild recurrence or partial concavity once the correction bar is removed. However, any secondary re-do MIRPE procedure remains risky because of adhesions between the pleura, lung, pericardium, thoracic wall as residuals from the primary intervention. Treatment options as secondary correction for these deformities may include open access surgery, resection or reshaping of deformed costal cartilage. Moreover, augmentation of a residual concave area can be achieved by autologous transplantation of resected over-abundant cartilage, as well as by liposhifting or implantation of customized alloplastics. A physician dealing with PE corrections should be familiar with various shaping and complementary reconstructive techniques in order to provide the best options for a variety of expressions of anterior wall deformities. Among treating surgeons, there is an awareness that no single method can be applied for every kind of funnel chest deformity. An appropriate technique, either as a single approach for the ordinary deformities or in conjunction with ancillary procedures for the intricate cases, should be selected carefully based on the heterogeneity of symptoms, severity, expectations and surgical skill in addition to the available equipment. Out of a variety of such ancillary procedures available and based on experience within general plastic reconstructive surgery, some techniques for PE repair are explained and illustrated here with their advantages and disadvantages.


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